SIRS 1SIRS® Discoverer® is a multidisciplinary database specifically designed for elementary and middle school learners, researchers, and educators covering curriculum areas such as current events, history, health, language arts, math, science, social studies, and technology. All newspaper, magazine, and reference content is 100% full text, editorially-selected and indexed from over 2,200 reliable, high-quality domestic and international sources. The collection includes integrated educational Websites and reference materials such as the Compton’s by Britannica encyclopedia and DK Eyewitness books.

Special features include: animal facts, country facts and maps, current events, pro/con leading issues, and science fair explorer. The ‘science fair explorer’ is one of my favorite features. It allows you to select an area of the house and it will provide science experiments based off of the supplies you would find in that room/area. I’ve also been using the ‘country facts and map’ feature a lot for our Passport Pals program where we learn about different countries and cultures.


SIRS® Discoverer® is a great supplement for Youth Services Librarians to use when planning STEM programs, providing homework help, and hosting writing workshops. It should be recommended to parents, students, teachers, and homeschool families. You can access this resource at home, outside the library, using your library card number.

– Leslie Paulovich, Robinson Township Library



Project MUSE’s RSF: Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences

Project MUSE is one of the leading providers of academic journals in the social sciences and humanities. The public library system, for the most part, can’t afford subscriptions to have access to these publications. However, since 2015, Project MUSE has begun publishing a peer-reviewed journal that is available for free for all. This is an important move in the idea of open access to academic texts, something not readily available to those without current ties to academic institutions.

The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences (RSF) has full-text articles available through Project MUSE’s website. Each volume of the journal is themed. Past topics have included Severe Deprivation in America (November 2015) and Higher Education Effectiveness (April 2016), both topics that do come up in research inquiries.

While this is a specific resource that won’t apply to a great number of reference interviews, it is a resource that, if highlighted, can be one stop to try for a range of research requests from financial reforms to immigration law.

I found the article “Financial Reform: Making the System Safer and Fairer” by Michael S. Barr in the January 2017 edition to be an interesting and approachable article on a rather unwieldy topic. There is a concise discussion of the Dodd-Frank Act that was a hot topic during the presidential election cycle.

Like most online journals, there are also links to View Citation and Save Citation to make works cited pages easier.


You can browse the journal by issue or search within its articles. This is a still a fairly new publication, but is certainly one to watch.

 Jeff Connelly, South Park


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Why Song Sample When You Can Album Indulge?

Have you ever heard the latest big hit and wanted to buy the full album, but weren’t sure if it would be the only good song on the whole thing? (It happens…a lot.) Some websites like Amazon let you sample a few seconds of each song, but even that’s not enough to say if you’ll really like it. My solution? HOOPLA! They have the latest and greatest FULL albums available for free checkout. I use it every time I’m considering buying a CD, and then if I do buy it, while I’m waiting for my copy to come in the mail, I listen to it on Hoopla again…and again! If you haven’t tried Hoopla for music, believe me it’s well worth it. And you’ll never get stuck with a one-hit-wonder album again…

Image result for hoopla new music fridays

Heather Blake, Western Allegheny Community Library

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