Friday, October 07, 2016

BPL's Digital Library is There for Your After-Hour Needs

All-too-familiar scenario: It’s nine o'clock on a Sunday night when your child suddenly remembers that they need an article on current events for a class on Monday morning. You’ve stopped taking the local newspaper, your printer is out of ink, you’re in your jammies, and the very last thing you want to do is get dressed and go to a store to pay for a magazine you don’t want for a homework project that is not your problem…Birmingham Public Library to the rescue!

If you have access to the Internet and a library card in good standing, this is not a dire situation—BPL's Digital Library is open 24/7, including periodical databases with full-text articles. These articles can be printed,
e-mailed, or shared on social media sites. The results will include the correct way to cite the work, as well as any other information a teacher might request.

Now that the crisis is averted, let’s discuss why you shouldn't just Google an assignment. The Internet is a fabulous tool, and there is a lot of good information available through it, but there are no laws, rules, policies, or regulations to make sure everything (or anything) is correct, current, unbiased, factual, or trustworthy. You might get lucky and find something good—but you also might not. Why gamble? By using the databases, you’re guaranteed that the information you receive will be all of the above, and you’ll also have the correct citation information right there, too.

Some of the links through our databases are paid subscriptions—information you would have to pay for to receive at home but that you get free with your library card membership. Some of them are excellent websites we’ve found that make getting information easy and accurate. There are online encyclopedias, language learning tools, historical sites, newspaper databases, free legal forms, information on investing and business incorporation, car repair, reading skills improvement, and test preps for a huge selection of academic, occupation, and entrance exams. They’re for all ages, too, so no matter what kind of information you need, there’s a database available to help you get it—all through your BPL library membership. Libraries have changed, but we’re still true to our core mission, which is to provide free access to information to everyone. Internet access is available in our buildings.

And if that’s not enough, you can cheerfully point out to your children that since the databases are available 24/7, there’s no reason to wait until Sunday night to do their homework!

If you have questions about how to use any of our information sources, please call your local Birmingham Public Library location, or visit our website at We are the source for information!

Kelly Laney
Springville Road Regional Branch Library

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