Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Get started with e-books and e-audio books from the library

Did Santa bring you a new tablet, smartphone or e-reader this holiday season? If so, now is the time to get started with e-books and e-audio books from Fauquier County Public Library.

All you need to borrow digital titles from your library is an internet connection and your FCPL library card.

If you’re using a tablet or smartphone, you will want to download OverDrive’s free mobile app, OverDrive Media Console, to easily find and save your library’s OverDrive website and to download and enjoy borrowed titles on your device.

Get the app from your app store or from for these popular devices and platforms: Android™, BlackBerry®, iOS (iPhone®/iPad®/iPod® touch), Windows® Phone, Kindle® Fire tablets, KoboTM tablets, and NOOK® tablets.

Borrow titles with one click
If you’re using a tablet or smartphone, use the app’s Add a Library (or Get Books) feature to find and save the library’s OverDrive website, the Blue Ridge Download Consortium. On any device with a browser, you can also go directly to the library’s OverDrive site at:

Once you find a title to borrow on the library’s site, click Borrow and enter your library card information. You’ve now borrowed the title—that’s all there is to it.

Read in your browser with OverDrive Read
The easiest way to start reading a borrowed eBook is to use OverDrive Read (if available). OverDrive Read lets you read eBooks right in your browser—no extra software or login required. Simply click Read next to a borrowed eBook to begin reading. For more information, visit

Download other formats to your computer, tablet, or smartphone
You will also see download options on the library website next to each of your borrowed titles...

On tablets or smartphones: Use OverDrive’s free mobile app to download EPUB eBooks (*you will need an Adobe ID) and MP3 audiobooks directly to your tablet or smartphone.

On Windows or Mac: 
On Windows 8 or RT: Use OverDrive Media Console (OMC) for Windows 8 to download EPUB eBooks* and MP3 audiobooks to your Windows 8 or RT device.

For Kindle Books: In the US, you can download Kindle Books to your Kindle device or reading app. If you select the Kindle Book option, you’ll be taken to Amazon’s website to complete download.

*What is an Adobe ID and how do I get one?
An Adobe ID allows you to read Adobe EPUB e-books in our app and to transfer e-books from your computer to supported e-book readers. Follow the one-time prompt on your computer or device to create a free Adobe ID and complete authorization.

Need more help?
For more help, including device-specific instructions, how-to videos, and a link to contact support, visit the Help section on the library’s OverDrive-powered website, the Blue Ridge Download Consortium.

In addition, the library subscribes to OneClickdigital, which includes exclusive Recorded Books audiobooks, all compatible with iPad/iPod/iPhones, as well as numerous MP3/audio devices. The OneClickdigital collection includes works by popular authors such as Lawrence Block, Rita Mae Brown, James Lee Burke, Alexander McCall Smith, Elizabeth Peters, and John Sandford. OneClickdigital also recently added a collection of classic e-book titles.

During your holiday break, remember that there is no need to bundle up and visit your local branch -- simply use your library barcode to checkout and download your favorite titles.

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Art & Culture

I recently ran across the following websites which should be of interest to teachers and students of the arts.

Google Cultural Institute - Geared at students and teachers of history, geography and art, find artworks, landmarks and world heritage sites, as well as digital exhibitions that tell the stories behind the archives of cultural institutions across the globe.

MetPublications - Access over 50 years of Metropolitan Museum of Art publications; read online or download; search by title/author/keyword, thematic category and more; these catalogs, which cover artworks, dress, furniture, etc., complete with full color photos, would be helpful if you were doing a research paper on a particular time period (common request we get at the reference during a particular era).

Getty Publications Virtual Library - A great resource for art teachers and students; search by title, keyword or author.

More to Explore on the Library Website
Paper due? For articles, many full-text on topics related to the arts, browse or search the InfoTrac Fine Arts & Music Collection, available from our databases page.

Teachers can find more web resources by subject, including Fine Arts, on our educators page.

~ Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Buying a home? Get help from a local housing counselor

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has launched a new online tool for consumers to find housing counselors.

What are housing counselors?
Housing counselors throughout the country can provide advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues. Housing counselors can offer independent advice, often at little or no cost to consumers.

The new tool includes the following features:
  • Shows consumers their closest options: The tool uses a search box and mapping function to show the consumer the ten closest counseling agencies to their zip code.
  • Provides contact information for HUD-approved counselors: The tool only draws on information from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) official list of housing counselors.
  • Displays services offered by counseling agencies: When counselors are listed, the tool shows the consumer which services are available there, such as rental housing counseling, pre-purchase counseling, or default resolution counseling.
  • Lists the languages offered: For those consumers who would prefer to receive housing counseling in a language other than English, the tool lists the languages that each housing counseling agency offers.
Why the new tool?
The CFPB’s new mortgage rules (effective January 2014) require mortgage lenders to provide applicants with a list of local housing counselors. Consumers should receive the list shortly after they apply for a mortgage so they know where to get help when deciding what loan is best for them. Lenders may fulfill that requirement by using CFPB-developed housing counseling lists, which are available through this new tool, or by generating their own lists using the same HUD data that the CFPB uses to build its lists. For more information and links to the new mortgage rules, visit the website.

For more online consumer information resources, visit the library's Recommended Websites page and check under Consumer Information.

~ Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

e-Resource of the Month: Bloom's Literature

  “…highly recommended for the literature reference needs of high-school and college students.”

Bloom's Literature, formerly Bloom's Literary Reference Online, has been updated with a new design, new features, and enhanced video offerings. This accessible database is the must-have resource for literature reference.

Highlights and features:

  • Full-length videos of classic plays: streaming video of nearly 100 famous productions, including King Lear (starring James Earl Jones) and The Iceman Cometh (starring Jason Robards and Robert Redford) 
  • Bloom's How to Write about: specific advice on how to write good essays on most often assigned authors 
  • Works and Authors: overviews, synopses, analyses, and literary criticism of thousands of works and the finest contemporary and classic writers 
  • Literary criticism: critical essays from Facts On File's extensive collection, Harold Bloom's acclaimed essays, and critical articles from the Bloom's imprint 
  • Topics and themes: in-depth, full-text entries on literary movements, groups, periodicals, and historical events that help place literature in context 
  • Information on more than 48,500 literary characters 
  • Search by Common Core, state, and national standards 
  • Authoritative source list: more than 1,600 scholarly and critical books, more than 700 books from Infobase Learning, and more than 500 peer-reviewed journals and other periodicals 
  • Images and iPad/mobile-friendly videos—nearly 2,200 video clips 
  • Dynamic citations in MLA and CMS formats 
  • Harold Bloom's Canon of Literature

~ Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection of databases, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New on Find It Virginia - National Geographic Kids!

National Geographic Kids is now available from Find It Virginia! This new resource includes the complete issues of National Geographic Kids magazine from 2009-present, 500 downloadable images, and 200 National Geographic Kids books, including reference books as well as nonfiction books on history, biography, science and technology and the National Geographic Readers, which cover wildlife, pets, nature and other topics. The interface also contains user-friendly design elements, which makes finding content more intuitive for younger audiences.

You'll find National Geographics Kids, along with other premium e-resources, on our Articles & Databases page on our website.

~ Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Additional premium content from TumbleBook Library

If you've used TumbleBook Library recently, you may have noticed two new resources available for your enjoyment: math stories and graphic novels. TumbleBook Library has also added additional books in the collection, including:

  • 16 graphic novels
  • 92 e-books
  • 90 more read-alongs
  • 125 more videos
  • 45 more non-fiction titles
  • 47 math stories

To access the full version of TumbleBooks, go to the library's web page for children and see the TumbleBooks link under Featured Resources. You can also access the TumbleBook library from any of the library's public computers. After logging into the computer and opening up the web browser, click on Games for Children for access to TumbleBooks and other age-appropriate games and activities popular with children.

~ Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Geography Awareness Week

Geography Awareness Week, an annual public awareness program organized by National Geographic Education Programs (NGEP), encourages citizens young and old to think and learn about the "interconnectedness of our world." Celebrated during the third week of November (Nov. 17-23, 2013), students, families, and community members are invited to focus on the importance of geography through events, lessons, games, and challenges.

Resources at the library

In the non-fiction section, the 900s cover geography and history, with geography and travel specifically located in the 910s. If you have a specific region or country in mind, check the catalog (try a keyword search) or ask library reference staff to assist you. Atlases, specifically world atlases, can be found in the 912s, in both the adult and juvenile (children's) areas of your local library, as well as near the reference desk.

If the personal aspect of travel (versus geographical facts or "travel guides") are more your thing, be sure to check out the worldly (and often witty) observations of writers such as Paul Theroux, Frances Mayes, Peter Matthiessen and Tony Horwitz (or how 'bout Agatha Christie?!) or winning entries for the Solas Awards Best Travel Writing (online resource).

More to explore

Electronic resources (use your library card to access)

Resources on the web

~ Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

e-Resource of the Month - Morningstar Investment Research Center

Planning for retirement, thinking about college savings or looking to get started in investing? Begin planning for your financial goals today with the library's Morningstar Investment Research CenterMorningstar, Inc., is a leading provider of independent investment research and is an ideal investing resource for every library patron.

Get started with the Morningstar Investment Research Center by viewing the introductory video in the Tutorial Center. Be sure to check out the Help & Education tab, which includes helpful Database Guides and primers on various investing topics. The Investment Classroom allows you to choose from more than 100 courses on stocks, funds and portfolio building.

In addition to stock and fund information, Fauquier County Public Library patrons can gain a clear overview of index returns, sector returns, and fund category returns, along with the most active stocks throughout the day. The Morningstar Investment Research Center also offers customizable tools, such as Portfolio X-Ray, retirement and college savings calculators, and stock and fund screeners, so you can analyze your own finances.

Use your 10-digit Fauquier County Public Library card number to access Morningstar from the library's Articles & Databases and Business/Small Business Resources pages of the library's website or in the online catalog. (Note: Use of Morningstar is limited to one user at a time. If the resource is in use, be sure to check back later to access.)

~Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween e-Treats

Are you prepared for Halloween? Check out these "spooktacular" online resources for busy families:

~ Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Unique Online Reference Source: Encyclopedia of Surfing

Surf historian Matt Warshaw's Encyclopedia of Surfing, an online companion to the print edition of the same name, helps you understand and discover surfing's who's who, the history of surving and the science and events that mark the sport of riding waves. Along with profiles of surfers like Bill and Laird Hamilton, entries cover such topics as the aloha shirt and the movie Endless Summer.

The online encyclopedia has some usability issues. For example, to access the search, you have to move your cursor/tap over on the left side of the site.

Also, as an authoritative source, you should note that the majority of contributors are made up of various photographers and filmmakers, but there is nothing on the site itself about Matt Warshaw. There are references to him online via his publisher, etc. (Interview with Matt Warshaw/Harcourt Books), etc., but for a user like myself, who is not that familiar with surfing (and thus may not be aware of Matt Warshaw), this raises a red flag, at least if I planned to cite this source in an assignment for school.

The library has a few titles to supplement your research into surfing, including Surfing USA! An Illustrated History of the Collest Sport of All Time by Ben Marcus, Surfing: A History of the Ancient Hawaiian Sport by Ben Finney and James Houston and Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board by Bethany Hamilton (there's also the movie version). While you're reading, you can listen to the Beach Boys' Greatest Surfing Songs.

~ Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Earth Science Week

Earth Science Week (October 13-19), an annual, international event which takes place during the second full week of October,  is designed to help the public gain a better understanding and appreciation for the Earth Sciences.

Mapping Our World,” this year's theme, looks to engage young people and the public in learning how geoscientists, geographers, and other mapping professionals use maps to represent land formations, natural resource deposits, bodies of water, fault lines, volcanic activity, weather patterns, travel routes, parks, businesses, population distribution, our shared geologic heritage, and more. Maps help show how the Earth systems – geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere – interact. The week is broken down by specific topics, such as National Fossil Day, which takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 16

The ESW website offers over 150 earth science activities for students, teachers and parents, many of which students can do on their own. They are broken down by grade level and also include standards alignment.

Teachers and home schooling families can find additional math and science online activities/resources on the Educators portion of our website.

~ Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Planning for long term care

With October being Long Term Care Planning Month, the Administration on Aging's (part of the U. S. Dept. of Health & Human Services) website is a great starting point to get answers to questions such as:

  • What is long-term care?
  • Who needs care?
  • How much care will I need?
  • Who will provide my care?
  • Where can I receive care?
  • Who pays for long-term care?

Find out what is covered by Medicaid/Medicare, where you should consider living, what to consider when planning for you and your family as well as costs (and how to pay).

The site even includes a handy map that shows the cost of care state-by-state, with costs broken down by type of care (click here for Virginia).

If you prefer something to check out from the library, simply do a keyword search in our online catalog for "long term care."

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

~ Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Celebrate Oktoberfest ~ Learn German! (October e-Resource)

Plans to celebrate Oktoberfest (Sept. 21 - Oct. 6)? Brush up on your German language skills with this month's e-Resource of the MonthTransparent Language Onlinea rapid learning system employing spaced interval repetition. This innovative learning method takes users through a series of simple steps to memorize words and phrases in a new language, including their meanings and proper pronunciation, in the shortest possible time.

Online/Mobile Access
Transparent Language Online is packed full of pronunciation, speech, grammar, writing, and vocabulary building lessons for over 80 languages. Featuring top-of-the-line coursework combined with a free mobile app and extensive social media resources, Transparent Language Online is the most complete language-learning system available to library patrons.

Offline Access
Don't have internet access at home or prefer not being "online?" Try our Transparent Language interactive language instruction series via USB flash driveSimply plug the flash drive into your computer, download the Transparent Language software and you're ready to go. No data plan necessary!
The courses, which are contained on a USB storage device (i.e, a "flash drive"), focus on two (2) proven learning methods to help you  expand your language abilities: (1) vocabulary building and (2) using words and phrases in an immersive, whole-language learning experience.

Simply insert the USB key into one of your computer's USB slots/ports, install the software and you're ready to begin. For more details, watch an online demo of this process on the Recorded Books library site.

You'll first start out with 15 Beginner Lessons, equivalent to one year of a high school course or 1 semester of a college course. Every lesson builds on the ones before it, to gradually take you from no knowledge of the language to an intermediate level of proficiency.

Then, when you are ready, you can proceed on to the Advanced-Beginner level and Intermediate level video lessons, which include Reading Lessons, Travel Tours, and Video Conversations featuring real native speaker dialogues.

Over a dozen different languages (including German) are available at the library. These USB drives can be checked out, and borrowed for three weeks, just like other library items.

Free online resources
Check out some of these free online resources to supplement the library's premium Transparent Language offerings:
Bis bald!

~ Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Free Image Editing Tools

If you're tired of paying for (or trying to master) Photoshop, or you're using a computer that doesn't have Photoshop installed, here are a couple of  free, web-based (i.e., no download required!) image editors that I personally use that may meet your image manipulation needs:

Ipiccy - With a super-intuitive control panel, this is much less complicated than Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. Aside from cropping/resizing, the tool set allows you to apply filters, effects and has layers that, like Photoshop, allow you to make professional final products. They also make it easy to upload projects to Facebook, Twitter and other social networks where you can store your finished work. When you visit the website, be sure to scroll down/ignore the advertisements that ask you to download software. That is for another product, GIMP, which requires a download...

Pixlr - Whether creating an image from scratch, layering one image over another or using a variety of filters, effects and level adjustments to transform your photographs, Pixlr produces results on par with many of its software-based counterparts and is extremely user-friendly.

Hope you enjoy!

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Friday, September 20, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Have You Checked Out the Retirement Toolkit?

The Department of Labor, the Social Security Administration and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have partnered to publish a Retirement Toolkit." This toolkit includes both links to publications and to interactive tools which can help you plan your retirement. It includes a timeline for retirement, information to help you decide what age you want to retire, and information about how to avoid paying a Medicare Part D late enrollment penalty. Some of the links from this toolkit include:
Happy retirement!
~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Paying for College

Because September is College Savings Month, you will probably see a lot of ads/promotions discussing 539 savings plans (the lenders are behind this "holiday"). While a 529 plan may be part of your toolkit for paying for college, now is also a good time to discuss scholarship and grant resources available through the library.

Online Tools

Federal Government
You actually apply for federal grants such as the Pell Grant when you fill out the FAFSA. However, if you want to know more about all the government grants programs available to you, go to the
website. You can also get a forecast of the grants you are eligible for by using the FAFSA4caster.

State Government
Virginia residents have access to financial aid programs for undergraduate and graduate study.

College Board
The College Board's database includes grants as well as scholarships.

Search By Category
Using your favorite Internet search engine can be helpful. But, instead of searching for “grants,” be more specific about what you are looking for. Try “female, nontraditional college student grant” or “Hispanic accounting grant” or even “Native American female engineering college grant.” The goal is to not be too general or too specific. In one case, you’ll find thousands of sites that you’ll never be able to cull through, and in the other you’ll be lucky to find one or two likely options. Below are some examples to get started:

Minority Students
If you are African American, Hispanic, or Native American, you may be eligible for minority grants. Check out the listings on FinAid and on A Better Chance.

African American Student Grants
Female Student Grants

Hispanic Student Grants
Native American Grants

Grants & Funding Research Center

Did you know that the Bealeton branch of the Fauquier County Public Library is a Cooperating Collection of the Foundation Center? The Bealeton Cooperating Collection is one of more than 240 Cooperating Collections in the U.S., and its mission is to help grant seekers find funding. Grant seekers include nonprofit organizations, government agencies and private institutions, as well as individuals. There is no charge to users for this service. Before you head over to the Bealeton Library, you can check out the Foundation Center's free online webinar about how to approach foundations and win a grant for your education as well as their online course in proposal writing to win grants.

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage!

Hispanic Heritage Month runs September 15 through October 15.

Here are some online resources you can use at home, in the classroom or to help you with your homework.

~Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian

Sunday, September 1, 2013

e-Resource of the Month: eLibrary®

With school now in session, it's time to focus our attention on one of the library's many homework help resources.

eLibrary®—the user-friendly general reference tool—delivers one of the largest general reference collections of periodical and digital media content designed to support every range of user, including elementary students, college-prep and college-level researchers, and professional educators. 

eLibrary®’s interface and features make research easy. Researchers will find the answers they need from more than 2,000 full-text magazines, newspapers, books, and transcripts, plus thousands of maps, pictures, weblinks, and audio/video files.

Titles cover a wide range of subjects including business, education, general interest, health, language arts, sciences, social sciences, and many other curriculum-specific subject areas.

Every magazine, journal, newspaper, book, and transcript is provided in 100 percent full-text—saving valuable search time and reducing the frustration of abstract-only results. Plus, the variety of multimedia content supplements and enhances text-only information.

Access to this database requires a Fauquier County Public Library card number. If you do not have a library card, apply for one online and gain instant access to this database.

Like all the library's premium online resources/databases, you can find this at, under Find Information... Search for Articles and MoreeLibrary® is listed under Magazines, Journals & Newspapers.

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What's in granny's pillbox?

Check out Pillbox, a new National Institutes of Health -- National Library of Medicine resource that lets you identify pills both visually and via text search (i.e., drug name etc.).

Designed for use by emergency physicians, first responders, other health care providers, Poison Control Center staff and concerned citizens, Pillbox enables users to identify solid dosage forms of medications based on physical criteria: imprint (characters or number printed on a medication), shape, color, size, and scoring.

For more details (and disclaimers), please view the Pillbox FAQs.

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Legal e-Resources @ Your Library

Recognizing the need for ready access to reliable legal materials, Fauquier County Public Library offers access to several legal databases and e-resources.

CaseFinder Web (in-library use only)
Provides Virginia case law including:

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Federal 4th Circuit
  • Eastern and Western District Courts
  • Virginia Supreme Court, Court of    Appeals
  • Workers’ Compensation Commission
  • Selected Virginia Circuit Courts
  • Attorney General Opinions and
  • Legal Ethics Opinions

Virginia Legal Forms Library (use your library card to access from home)
Provides a wide selection of forms including:

  • Real estate contracts
  • Wills
  • Premarital agreements
  • Bankruptcy
  • Divorce
  • Landlord tenant
  • Comprehensive state directory of attorneys
  • Dictionary of legal terms

Lexis Nexis Total Research (in-library use only)
Includes the National Primary Library, as well as:
  • Federal case, legislative and administrative law
  • Code of Federal Regulations
  • U.S. Public Laws
  • Federal Court Rules
  • Case law for all 50 states
  • Martindale-Hubbell listings
  • Michie’s Jurisprudence for civil and criminal law in Virginia
  • Virginia Model Jury Instructions: Civil and Criminal

State & Local Legal Resources Online (see our website for a complete list)
  • Code of Virginia
  • Administrative Code
  • Regulations
  • Circuit Court Information
  • Virginia Lawyer’s Directory
  • Fauquier County Code of Ordinances
  • Fauquier County Circuit Court
  • Warrenton Code of Ordinances

For complete details (including links) on the library's legal resources available online and in print, check out the Legal Resources page on our website.

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Friday, August 16, 2013

New Version of OverDrive Media Console Coming Aug. 20

OverDrive is releasing a new version of their OMC on August 20th. OMC v3.0 will feature:
  • A redesigned user interface with an all-new look, streamlined navigation and a one-stop reorganized menu. App functions are just a swipe and tap away.
  • Users will be able to sync bookmarks and reading progress across multiple devices using a free, opt-in registration service called OverDrive One.
  • Variable speed playback for iOS. Audiobook users’ most requested feature.
  • First run tutorial screens. The app now prompts first time users to add libraries and get books.
  • System Requirements: OMC v3.0 for Android users requires Android OS v4.0 (or newer). OMC for Android v2.6.5 will remain available for download. OMC for iOS requires iOS 6 (or newer). If you have an older version of iOS, you can still use the older version of the OMC.

This is just like any other app update (you'll see it pending as an update) in that all of your titles will transfer over, your Adobe ID will transfer over, etc.

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Summertime and the learnin' is easy (and free!)

A few websites that readers may find of interest...

Life-Long Learning, Homeschooling
With Back-to-School season starting, consider trying's free and open courses. Along with university-level and professional development courses, homeschoolers might appreciate that the non-profit recently started rolling out free K-12 courses, developed by a team of experienced educators and staff and fully aligned to the US Common Core State Standards. The first to launch are for grades 6-12 in English language arts and mathematics.

Watch fast-paced introductions to U.S. History (with John Green) and Chemistry (with Hank Green) on the Crash Course YouTube channel. There are also past lectures on World History, Biology, Literature, and Ecology. Note to homeschoolers/parents - while the lectures are often funny and geared at engaging a teen/young adult audience, some of the Greens' remarks could be considered PG-13 material, and John inserts his opinion in a number of instances in the history videos (so theys are not unbiased). Probably best for a more mature middle school or high school student.

Genealogy and Local History
The Federation of Genealogical Societies has a new free webinar (presentation + video) Discovering State and Local Militia Records. The webinar, which runs about an hour, allows you to take a closer look at the wide variety of records documenting local militia companies. From annual muster to supplies and appointment of officers, learn how these records may be used in your family research. Learn more about the military organization of citizens called for the purpose of local defense, who served this country from the Revolution through 1812 and on to the development of the National Guard.

>>>See related e-Resource News posts covering online learning.

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"How-to" sites

There are a number of "how-to" sites available, some of which leave much to be desired (wikiHow, for example, seems to have a lot of extremely basic articles, including some of which strongly resemble advertising). Whether it's a video on refinishing a wood floor or directions for refurbishing an old computer, the following websites provide a good amount of free, usable content (and inspiration) that you can use to help you achieve some of the projects you may have on your "honey do" list.

Here you can access over 100,000 documented projects on everything from creating Easy Refrigerator Pickles to a raised garden on a hillside. You can sign up for a free account, but if you want to be able to download or save PDF e-book copies of instructions, you'll need to upgrade to an Instructables Pro account (Instructables provides free pro memberships to teachers).

DIY Network (makers of HGTV and Food Network) offers creative Home Improvement projects for do-it-yourself enthusiasts.

do it yourself
Articles, videos and expert advise on home improvement and repair projects.

This popular site covers over 30 categories, organized under channels such as home, mom, style, tech, food, money and health, with articles/videos and an active online community to boot.

How-To Geek
One of my favorite sites for tips and directions to help you address common technology issues.

Pinterest DIY & Crafts
If you need to get inspired, try Pinterest, an online pinboard, where users share all kinds of projects.

This Old House
Select the How-To + Repair tab and access expert advice and step-by-step instructions for your home and garden.

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Thursday, August 1, 2013

E-Resource of the Month - ReferenceUSA

ReferenceUSA, which you can access for free using your Fauquier County Public Library card, provides access to information on over 25 million businesses and more than 262 million consumers. Business listings include such data as company names, phone numbers, complete addresses, key executive names, SIC Codes, employee size, sales volume, geo-codes for mapping, contact details, franchise and brand information, news, liens, judgments and bankruptcies and credit rating scores.

Residential information comes from more than 5,200 White Page telephone directories, with each listing as it appears in the phone book. Information is available 8 to 12 weeks after the phone book, and the residential listings are processed through U.S. and Canadian National change of address records monthly. U.S. residential listings also contain recent census information, including median household income, median home value, latitude/longitude, and percentage of owner-occupied housing. The database is continuously updated.

Other available databases, including U.S. Businesses, Canadian Businesses, U.S. New Businesses, U.S. Healthcare (Physicians and Dentists), U.S. Standard White Pages, U.S. Consumers/Lifestyles, Canadian White Pages, and U.S. New Movers/Homeowners.

All the available databases allow both a quick search and a custom search mode, with the former finding bare-bones information (for example, company name, executive name, city, state, and phone for U.S. businesses) and with custom options that allow for granularity and targeted list compiling.

For example, the Custom Search in the U.S. Businesses database allows users to query the data by such factors as company name; brands and products; executive name, title, gender, or ethnicity; keyword/SIC/NAICS; major industry group; geographic limiters from state down to neighborhood; map-based search, area code; number of employees; sales volume; public/private company, foreign parent, home-based business, government office, stock exchange, ticker symbol, credit rating, business expenditures, web address, Fortune 1000, Yellow Page ad size, years in database, year established, and square footage. The successive selection features of the search mechanism make it extremely fast and simple to carry out research.

Several databases, such as U.S. Standard White Pages and Canadian White Pages, are pretty straightforward, offering what you'd expect to find in a business information file. The U.S. Consumers/Lifestyles database is different, however. You can perform a quick search by typical access points such as name, phone, city, and state, and lifestyle categories ranging from apparel/fashion/beauty to charitable donor, personal finance/self-help, and purchase behavior. The file notes that “Lifestyles are scored based on level of interest from 0 to 9 in our database. 0 meaning no interest; 9 meaning heavy interest. Selecting Lifestyles from the categories below will include individuals with a score of 6 and higher (6 to 9).”

While the lifestyles search goes beyond the basics of most files, a custom search allows you to delve into consumer characteristics such as estimated home value, estimated household income, age, marital status, children present, ethnicity, gender, language spoken, religion, political party, female occupation, male occupation, mortgage present, home owner, years in home, year home built, location type, number of units. grandparent present, and veteran present.

If you've never used ReferenceUSA, or have only used it to look up contact information, consider taking a tour, which includes tutorials on how to locate detailed information on competitors and similar businesses by using the ReferenceUSA U.S. Business module (approximately three minutes in length).

Links to ReferenceUSA can be found on the library's website (Articles & Databases -- Business Information; Business/Small Business Resources) and in the library's online catalog.

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Want to learn more about OneClickdigital e-audio books?

Recorded Books now offers training webinars for OneClickdigital e-audio books designed specifically for library patrons:

Register for a session now by clicking a date below:

Once registered‚ you’ll receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to join.

Need Support for OneClickdigital?
Call 1-877-77AUDIO or email customer support at

For more information on the library's e-book and e-audio book offerings, check out our e-books page on the library's website.

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Finding the right employees for your business

The CareerOneStop Business Center

Finding the right employees is important for helping businesses grow. For many new and small businesses, this process can be daunting. The Department of Labor (DOL) is making this process easier through the ‘Business Center’ located at CareerOneStop.Org.

This site provides direct access to online resources for employers looking to recruit, train and retain skilled workers. Employers can find information on writing effective job descriptions, how to properly interview candidates, find local skills training programs, salary information, and state-by-state resources available for hiring workers.

The Business Center also includes tips about how to recruit qualified candidates through local American Job Centers and provides employment projections. Additionally, the site offers access to local training and educational institutions, a catalog of occupational certifications, a tool to help employers translate the military training and skills of returning service members into specific civilian occupations, and an ‘Available Workforce Tool’ that enables employers to build a profile of the workforce in a local, state, or national area, including data on employment, wages, unemployment rates, and demographics.

The CareerOneStop Business Center, along with other business resources, can be found on the library's Business/Small Business Resources page.

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Automobiles - advice and guidance

Looking for advice before you hit the dealer lots? Check out the following resources available through the Fauquier County Public Library and on the web.

Purchasing an Automobile
Databases - Use your library card to log in to Find It Virginia to search InfoTrac and General Reference Center Gold for consumer publications, including Consumer Reports.

The following web sites (listed alphabetically) provide a wealth of information (features, safety, etc.) for the prospective car buyer:
Aside from the many general buying guides available at the library and on the web, there are other resources related to cars that will be of interest to purchasers and owners.

Auto Repair and Owner Manuals
The library carries the Chilton manuals and those available for check-out are mostly located in the 629 area of the non-fiction section.

On the Web, only a few sites offer free repair information and resources (Chilton, Haynes, etc., all charge fees for access to their repair manuals):
Energy Efficiency/Fuel Economy
The following Web sites provide fuel economy information -- of particular interest during these times of high fuel prices:

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Health care - finding coverage that fits your budget, needs

Finding Affordable Health Coverage
With the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act  health insurance has changed and will be changing in important ways, especially in 2014, when Americans will have access to affordable health insurance options via the new Health Insurance Marketplace. Starting October 1, 2013, you can use the Marketplace to find health coverage that fits your budget and meets your needs. You can compare important features of several plans side-by-side, all of them offering a full package of essential health benefits. You can see what your premium, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs will be before you decide to enroll. Some states have set up (or are in the process of setting up) their own state health care exchanges. For Virginians, however, while Virginia's Department of Health provides health information, the state has not implemented/will not implement its own healthcare exchange/marketplace, so residents will use to get answers to questions and to enroll.

Key Dates
  • Oct. 1, 2013 - Open enrollment starts
  • Jan. 1, 2014 - Health coverage starts
  • March 31, 2014 - Open enrollment ends
You will need the following when you apply for health coverage:
  • Social Security Number (or document number if you are a legal immigrant)
  • Employer and income information for every member of your household needing coverage (pay stubs/W-2 forms)
  • Policy number(s) for any current health insurance plan(s) covering members of your household
  • A completed Employer Coverage form for every job-based plan you or someone in your household is eligible for
Learn More
Even though open enrollment does not begin until October 1, you can answer a few quick questions on the website to get:
  • A list of coverage options you may qualify for (specific plans and prices available Oct. 1)
  • Answers that will help you make good decisions
  • A personalized checklist to help you get ready to apply
You may also want to explore the Kaiser Family Foundation website, which features "An Early Look at Premiums and Insurer Participation in Health Insurance Marketplaces, 2014."

For Virginians
For more details on how the Affordable Health Care Act impacts Virginia residents, see the website and the Sept. 17, 2013 Washington Post article, "How to buy insurance under Obamacare if you live in Virginia if you live in Virginia."

Protect Yourself From Fraud/Identity Theft
  • Do not give out your personal health or financial information to someone who contacts you or comes to your home uninvited, even if they say they are from the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • Keep personal and account numbers private. Do not give this information to companies you didn't contact or in response to unsolicited communications.
  • If something sounds fishy or confusing, visit or call 1-800-318-2596.

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Monday, July 1, 2013

July e-Resource: Get tutoring help this summer from state certified teachers

Even though school is out, Virginia students enrolled in summer school or following other academic pursuits in the summer months can receive tutoring help or summer schoolwork assistance from state-certified teachers through Homework Help, Literati's real-time online tutoring tool. Teachers are available to assist with reading, writing and math, and can help prevent the "summer slide."

Who is Homework Help for?
  • Grades 3-12
What subjects are covered?
  • Math
  • Reading 
  • Writing
When is Homework Help available?
  • SUMMER HOURS: June 24th - September 1st, Monday - Thursday 9am-4pm EDT
How do I access Homework Help?
1. Go to
2. If you are brought to a login screen, select the name of your library (Fauquier County Public Library)
3. Enter your 10-digit library card number (200********)
4. Once on the Literati Public Homepage – click the black “Homework Help” tab
on the right side of the screen.
5. Enter your name, grade and subject – then connect to your live teacher!

Find Literati, along with other great e-resources on the library's website:

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Reviews for websites, apps, movies and more for parents and educators

Common Sense Media, a national nonprofit devoted to providing trustworthy information on traditional and digital media, provides reviews of movies, games, apps and websites (including those specifically for learning) so that parents (or any consumer, for that matter!) can make informed decisions on what their children/families are using and watching. A recent review, for example, is for the new Pixar hit Monsters University. As you plan your visit(s) to your local theater for the latest blockbuster or download apps for your bored child(ren), be sure to visit Common Sense Media first.

For educators (but also helpful to parents), check out the recently launched Graphite, which reviews and rates digital products, including apps, games, websites, and digital curricula for K–12. Graphite’s editorial team evaluates each product using a rating system “developed by a team of experts in education and child development,” according to a press release. Users of the site can search concurrently by product type (apps, console and PC games, websites); subject (language and reading, math, science, social studies, art, and hobbies); grade level (Pre-K to 12); and price (free, free to try, or paid). Products can also be mapped to the Common Core and other standards.

Related posts: Send Your Kids to Camp Virtual (6/12/2012)

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian