Abundance of online resources available through DCDL


Tomorrow, April 7, kicks off National Library Week — the annual week designated to celebrate all things “library.” Within the week, there are other special days of celebration for specific topics like reading (Monday), library workers (Tuesday), outreach (Wednesday), and library advocacy (Thursday).

In addition, librarians from all over have just come off a week of celebrations, as the Public Library Association wrapped up its conference in Columbus, Ohio yesterday! Thousands of librarians regularly attend this conference in various locations, but Columbus was lucky enough to be the chosen city for the 2024 gathering. On Tuesday, as part of the pre-conference workshops, the Delaware County District Library hosted a group of conference attendees at our Liberty Branch Library for a tour of the new facility and a Q&A.

Appropriately, this column’s “Back to the Basics” theme fits nicely with the celebrations of all things library. So far we’ve discussed ways that the Delaware County District Library communicates with the public and the variety of options that library cardholders have to check out a book from the library. This week, we’ll look at the online resources that libraries offer.

Online resources, sometimes called databases or research resources, are searchable electronic indexes of published, reliable resources. Unlike books, one online resource can provide access to a wealth of useful research materials from resources like academic journals, newspapers, and magazines. They also can include relevant eBook, web, and multimedia resources. Unlike typical web browser searches through sites like Google, Bing or Yahoo!, library research resources can provide access to peer-reviewed, published articles from accredited institutions.

You may have heard the quote commonly attributed to Neil Gaiman, “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.” Online resources are one of the ways that librarians can assist and teach our patrons how to go about their research projects.

Public and academic libraries subscribe to various research databases, which they then make available for their library cardholders to use, free of charge. At the Delaware County District Library, all of these resources can be found at www.delawarelibrary.org/research. We list the websites alphabetically and offer a drop-down to sort them by topic. Categories include auto repair, business, genealogy, encyclopedias, news, law, and more.

A special category called “Students & Homework” highlights resources created with young learners in mind. They are filled with age-appropriate information in fun, easily digestible formats. For example, parents can find free access to ABCmouse for their preschool learners in this category, and high school students can log into Brainfuse HelpNow to get on-demand virtual tutoring in a subject of their choosing. Book lovers in grades K-8 will enjoy exploring NoveList K-8 Plus to find fiction and nonfiction book recommendations specifically for younger readers.

My family and I enjoy opening “What Tree Is It?” while we take walks. The resource is a tree identification guide that lets users identify a tree by its leaf, fruit or name and highlights trees native to Ohio. “What’s That Snake?” is one you’ll want on-demand for your deep woods hikes or upcoming camping trips in Ohio.

Databases are one of the ways that DCDL cardholders really see a great return on investment! Many websites that people regularly pay for are offered free to cardholders. Consumer Reports Online includes a comprehensive archive of expert, unbiased product reviews, including buying advice, product ratings, reviews, recommendations, and money-saving tips. The Chilton Library provides step-by-step repair procedures for at-home fixes to your car, truck, van, or SUV. The resource has diagnostics, maintenance schedules and wiring diagrams.

Morningstar Investing Center is a premium investment research tool that offers accurate, timely data and analysis for stocks, funds, industries and markets. If you knew the training courses at Lynda.com, they are now available free for Library cardholders through LinkedIn Learning for Library. It provides unlimited access to Lynda.com content and more, with over 16,000 professional development courses!

News lovers will rejoice to learn that they can access the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal from anywhere, with the help of their library card. News archives from around the world are available through NewsBank – including many newspapers local to Ohio.

Research resources are often the unsung heroes of a library’s pool of information. Much of a library’s budget is invested in them, and a wealth of information is ready to be gained by those who use them. Start by exploring www.delawarelibrary.org/research and see if there are any that interest you. If you need further information or explanation on a resource, schedule a visit with a library staff member. If you need more help with your genealogical research, you can also stop by during the Delaware County Genealogical Society’s open office hours on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Until next time, Happy National Library Week!

If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Nicole Fowles, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740-362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s web site at www.delawarelibrary.org or directly to Nicole at [email protected]. No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!

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