Let That Be A Lesson!

Where did the summer go? Your children and teen patrons can soak up the sun guilt-free a little longer, but those of you who serve teachers and other classroom support staff know that plans and preparations for fall learning are already in full swing. Did you know that some of our electronic resources contain materials that can help them prepare great lessons and classroom activities? Read on to see what you can find, and where to find it.

Teacher Reference Center 

trc_button_150x75Let’s not overlook the obvious: this resource has “teacher” right in its title, and yet your users might not know it exists. Educators looking for new ideas can consult abstracts of 260 periodicals for articles about topics such as:

  • Assessment
  • Curriculum Development
  • Instructional media
  • Literacy standards
  • Science & mathematics

plus a whole lot more!

Although Teacher Reference Center is not full-text, you can often get to the full-text by

  • adding other EBSCO databases to your search.
  • searching the article title in other county/POWER resources.
  • submitting an  ILL request.

For more immediate needs in the social sciences, Gale’s got you covered.

History in Context (U.S & World), Opposing Viewpoints

uhic-webThese three databases feature a taxonomy of content linked to current educational standards. When you enter each of these databases, you’ll see a link to “Curriculum Standards” at the top. Clicking this brings up a drop-down menu of national and state standards (World History in Context also includes international standards–neat, eh?).

whic-webOnce you’ve selected your state, you can choose to see the social sciences standards for either middle school or high school. Subdivisions within each standard are linked to specific database content. So, for example, teachers preparing a lesson for 9th graders on the rule of law could access U.S. History in Context and, using the taxonomy, jump directly to materials on that topic, as well as on civil rights and the common good.

ovic-webOpposing Viewpoints in Context contains curriculum standards for both the social sciences and the hard/applied sciences. There is also a “Maps” feature that provides not just maps, but all sorts of graphics teachers can use to share statistics or present key information visually.

Speaking of science…

Science Reference Center

SciRC_button_150x75This resource is a gold mine of information for the science teacher who could use support. The reference shelf, on the right-hand side of the landing page, contains links to:

  • More than 2000 lesson plans on a wide variety of topics.
  • Science experiments (full projects and support articles).
  • Research and citation guides to share with students.
  • Worksheets for chemistry, physics, biology, scientific math, and more.

Like the social science databases, Science Reference Center also contains curriculum standards organized by state, grade level, subject, and subtopic. However, instead of linking the user directly to the material, EBSCO provides suggested search strings.

Novelist / Novelist K-8


English teachers will love the support materials they’ll find in Novelist and Novelist K-8.   If they’re in a hurry, you can very quickly show your patrons how to search by lexile and Accelerated reader. If they’ve got time to spare, though, there are more materials to show off.

If you select the “Quick Links” tab in either database, then click “Curriculum Connections,” you’ll find tons of book lists on common classroom themes. “Books to Reinforce the Alphabet,” for example, suggests books for teaching individual letters. Results can be limited by age, subject, and a variety of other ways. These include curriculum standards for those seeking specific lesson plans to illustrate a particular point.

logoNOVELISTK8Lg“Picture Book Extenders,” the last option under “Quick Links,” also contains curriculum standards-aligned activities that can be used in conjunction with specific picture books. This option, like “Curricular Connections,” is available in both Novelist and Novelist K-8, and results have the same set of limiters mentioned above. Kindergarten and first grade teachers will find these especially helpful as they pave the road to independent reading.

Novelist‘s book discussion guides are a good resource for high school English teachers looking for additional questions to get students thinking about assigned texts. Also located in the “Quick Links” section, these searches can be limited to teen audiences for best results. Each discussion guide contains a list of questions and answers, as well as recommended read-alikes that can help teachers get a curious child to their next book. Please note: this option is not available in Novelist K-8.

Although classroom teachers are the primary audience, these resources might also be helpful for homeschooling parents, child care center workers, or volunteer tutors. With a little help from you and a database, your patrons prepping for back-to-school time might just breathe a little more easily this year.

Continue ReadingLet That Be A Lesson!

Browsing hoopla for children’s media is easy now

If you haven’t already explored it (and especially if parents have been asking) you should check out the new hoopla KIDS MODE, a setting that allows individuals to browse only materials created for children. It allows parents and children to discover all the great hoopla kids’ content, with one swipe. No more wasted time—and no more stumbling across titles like You Are a Badass, American Swing, or Sh*tty Mom that might create confusion or consternation.

Instead, you’ll see audiobooks, movies, music, comics, ebooks, and television shows just for kids.



This isn’t a separate portal, as in OverDrive. It’s an account setting that can be turned on and off easily. And the instructions are simple (really).

To use:  Click on your account (your email address) in the upper right side of the screen to access your profile.  Change the KIDS MODE toggle to on.   Be sure to click the Update button (in the lower left).



To return to unrestricted browsing: In your account, change the KIDS MODE toggle to off and update.  Note:  This affects the device on which you are browsing ONLY, not the account.

All content shown while in Kids Mode has been deemed suitable by hoopla for children up to 12 years of age.

To get started, go to Hoopla Digital.


Lisa Dennis/CLP


Continue ReadingBrowsing hoopla for children’s media is easy now

Keeping Up with the Librarians

Often if a patron is especially interested in a genre I don’t read (westerns, for example), it can be hard to keep abreast of the most recent titles to suggest to them, as well as find some classics that they may have missed.

I use NoveList for a number of questions, including series order and read-alikes, but have recently started using the Keeping Up feature as well, available from NoveList’s homepage. NoveList has created Keeping Up pages for most of the most popular genres, including Dystopian Fiction and Mystery. These pages include a selection of the most recent titles in that genre, as well as curated booklists and genre essentials.

Keeping Up aggregates best-of and award lists and can point you to key titles and authors in the genres that may not end up on your own reading lists. To this end, there is also an array of readers’ advisory tools and advice from other librarians that will help to acclimate you to these conversations.

Many of the Keeping Up pages are also geared to both an adult and YA audience (there is even a YA Lit Keeping Up all on its own). Need high fantasy suggestions for a teenage boy? Keeping Up has you covered!

Another great feature of Keeping Up is the printable marketing materials included. Read-alike bookmarks and more are perfect for supplementing book displays and make on-the-fly booktalks easier and more effective.

While NoveList isn’t one of our digital resources that is constantly updating and evolving, it has much to offer both patrons and librarians. Sharon had a great earlier Virtual Lexicon post on the Book Discussion Guides available through NoveList, which is another great resource that should be highlighted again.

Nobody can keep up with all the titles and genres that patrons are interested in and NoveList can help immensely in those difficult “Well what do I read next?” questions we all face.

Jeff (South Park)


Continue ReadingKeeping Up with the Librarians