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