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

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Papers of the Founding Fathers Are Now Online

Prologue: Pieces of History » The Papers of the Founding Fathers Are Now Online

The Founders Online is a new website at the National Archives that will allow people to search this archive of the Founding Era, and read just what the Founders wrote and discussed during the first draft of the American democracy. Students and researchers, citizens and scholars can turn to Founders Online to track and debate the meaning of documents such as the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They can examine transcriptions of the originals and read the wit and wisdom of the Founders’ own debates.

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pollinators Week is June 17 – 23

The bees are buzzing, the butterflies are flitting about and the bats are swooping through the skies at dusk. Time to get ready for Pollinators Week, which runs June 17 - 23.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has an entire site dedicated to pollinators, with information on how to plant a pollinator garden; educational materials to use at home or in the classroom; and podcasts and videos on butterfly migration, how to build nesting sites for honeybees and more.

Pollinator Partnership, a nonprofit working to protect the health of managed and native pollinating animals, has planting guides for your ecoregion (enter your zip code), which you can download to your smartphone.

The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees awards active 4-H members a cash prize for their essay contest. The 2014 contest topic is "Beekeeping in Colonial Times."

Basics on pollination (how it works) and accompanying activities are available on a number of websites, including the Piedmont Environmental Council's Information on Important Crop Pollinators, the Missouri Botanical Garden, the US Forest Service, neoK12 (educational videos) and BrainPOP, to name a few.

If you consider bats a nuisance or are frightened by bees, hopefully the above resources will spur you to celebrate Pollinators Week this year.

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

PBS LearningMedia

Although the school year is winding down (or has ended, in some cases) for students in our area, teachers are already preparing for next year's crop of learners. Thus now is a good time to remind teachers (and homeschool parents) to visit our Educators page on the library's website ( This page features recommended websites and services the library offers, including PBS LearningMedia.

Honored with two 2013 SIIA CODiE Awards in the Education Technology category, PBS LearningMedia offers more than 30,000 free, carefully cataloged, standards-aligned, digital resources specifically designed to address national curricular gaps for high-quality digital media. The site features interactive games, images, videos, and instruction from such PBS and PBS KIDS programs and can be browsed by grade level, subject, standard or collection.

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Saturday, June 1, 2013

e-Resource of the Month: e-audio books

With June being Audiobook Awareness Month, what better time to acquaint yourself with the library's e-audiobook offerings?

Find e-audio books @ your local library

The library offers patrons the option of downloading e-audiobooks via two (2) e-audio book services, OverDrive and OneClickDigital.

OverDrive e-audio books include popular fiction and non-fiction and are compatible with a number of devices. Similar to CD books you check out from the library, when an item is checked out, you will have the option of placing a hold. E-audio titles can be checked out for 1 or 2 weeks. There is an OverDrive Media Console app for the iPod/iPad as well as Android devices. Some OverDrive titles can be burned to CD, a welcome alternative to commercial radio and can also provide a break for parents on a family road trip. Check out e-books and e-audio books with your Fauquier County Public Library card.

OneClickDigital, the exclusive provider of Recorded Books audio, allows unlimited checkouts for all titles, so there is no need to place a hold on an item. You can checkout an e-audio title for 21 days. The OneClickDigital Media Manager software is also available as an app for iPhone, iPad and iTouch devices.You will need to set up an account using your Fauquier County Public Library card.

Catalog tip

To limit your search of the library's online catalog to just e-audio titles, go to the Advanced Search page and enter/select the following:
  1. Enter Search Terms - put an asterisk (*) as "any field" if you're not sure what you are looking for; otherwise enter in an author name and change "any field" to author or try a specific title;
  2. Add Limits (Optional) - under Material Type, select/click on E-AUDIOBOOKS
  3. Hit the Submit button
Happy listening!

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian