BPL Virtual Resources Spotlight

BPL Virtual Resources Spotlight highlights the Birmingham Public Library’s vast free online resources available to serve the public. Thanks to our library partners such as Homework Alabama, Freegal, Hoopla, Kanopy, and Overdrive BPL is able to assist patrons stuck at home or on the go via their smartphones by providing access to free homework assistance, e-books, downloadable music, and free DVDs they can watch from their phones, iPads, laptops and other computer devices.

We welcome your feedback. For more about BPL’s virtual resources, click here.

The Birmingham Public Library is ALWAYS open 24/7 through our FREE online digital resources.

The value of our virtual resources has been elevated the past few months during the COVID-19 pandemic. While our buildings have been closed for the safety of the public to prevent coronavirus spread, BPL has continued to serve the public through our free online resources and by creating new virtual programming.

Pre K-5 School Resources

All resources below are also available on the Birmingham Public Library website page (www.cobpl.org) and on our Digital Library page http://www.bplonline.org/virtual/. Except where indicated, these services are restricted to Birmingham city residents with active library cards. 

Many digital resources are also provided by the state of Alabama - Alabama Virtual Library (AVL), the Alabama Public Library Service (APLS), and the Jefferson County Library Cooperative, a partnership of 40 libraries in Jefferson County including Birmingham's 19 locations. 

For a link to all of BPL’s online resources for elementary school students, click here http://www.bplonline.org/virtual/databases/default.aspx?p=5&q=1#db 

Here is a spotlight on some of our most popular news digital resources for K-5 students:

Click here https://www.abcmouse.com/html5#abc/student_home

Description: With more than 4,000 interactive books, educational games, puzzles, and other learning activities, ABCmouse.com's award-winning online curriculum is the most comprehensive online educational resource for young learners (ages 2-7+). From Age of Learning, Inc. Free for use in our library.

Homework Alabama - Live Homework Help
Click here https://aplsws1.apls.state.al.us/aplsnew/homework/

Description: The Homework Alabama Live online service, HomeworkAlabama.org, offers free homework help from subject specialists in Math, Science, Social Studies, and English. It assists students in Grades 4-12 and College Intro.

Homework Alabama also provides resume writing help and more for adults. HomeworkAlabama.org is provided free of charge to all residents of Alabama by APLS (the State Library of Alabama) and your local Public Library with a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Available Sunday - Thursday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Requires a JCLC card. Full Text Available. Remote Access Available.

Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids
Click here https://bensguide.gpo.gov/

Description: Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids provides learning tools for K-12 students, parents, and teachers. These resources will teach how our government works, the use of the primary source materials of GPO Access, and how one can use GPO Access to carry out their civic responsibilities. Just as GPO Access provides locator services to U.S. Government sites, Ben's Guide provides a similar service to U.S. Government Web sites developed for kids.

Britannica Digital Learning e-books
Click here http://eb.pdn.ipublishcentral.com/bookshelf

Description: Britannica offers hundreds of full-color and black-and-white nonfiction and circulating reference e-books, ranging from pre-K to academic. Offline reading is supported for all titles and requires a one-time download of the iPublishCentral Reader App. Requires a JCLC card. Full Text Available. Remote Access Available.

Britannica Online School Edition
Click here https://www.jclc.org/c/auth/en/EBJCLC.aspx?desturl=school

Description: Britannica Online School Edition offers teachers and students access to three complete encyclopedias, the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Britannica Student Encyclopedia and the Britannica Elementary Encyclopedia that ensure consistency with classroom-topics and age-appropriate language. Teacher and student tools are also included such as video, media, journals, magazines, interactive activity guides, lesson plans, an Internet guide and downloadable student activities.

The School Edition has 118,000 articles, 22,000 images, 2,000 video clips, 24,000 biographies and detailed maps of 196 countries. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary and Thesaurus and Spotlight features are also a part of this resource.

Tumblebooks ebooks for Kids
Click here https://www.tumblebooklibrary.com/Home.aspx?categoryID=77

Description: Britannica offers hundreds of full-color and black-and-white nonfiction and circulating reference e-books, ranging from pre-K to academic. Offline reading is supported for all titles and requires a one-time download of the iPublishCentral Reader App. Requires a JCLC card. Full Text Available. Remote Access Available.

Encyclopedia of Animals
Click here http://web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/command/detail?vid=0&sid=2ffb9d95-1e75-459c-b4ca-10354a5ef53b%40sessionmgr4007&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#jid=EHJ&db=mih

Description: The complete text of EBSCO's Encyclopedia of Animals available in a searchable database, including general informational articles, taxonomic classifications, and photographs of thousands of animal species. Available through Kid's Search.

Explora (AKA Kids Search, Student Research Center)
Click here http://web.a.ebscohost.com/web/ehpl/home?preview=false&usrNo=-25233933

Description: EBSCO's new database interface designed for elementary and middle school students. Replaces Searchasaurus, Kids Search, and Student Research Center. Requires a JCLC card. Full Text Available. Remote Access Available.

New World Encyclopedia (Funk & Wagnalls)
Click here http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/search/basic?vid=0&sid=74947d01-7c9d-412a-a401-5f5902f379ab%40sessionmgr101

Description: For students and adults alike, the New World Encyclopedia indexes over 25,000 full-text articles covering an array of topics. The database contains images, brief biographies and information in a variety of subject areas. Requires a JCLC card. Full Text Available. Remote Access Available.

Kids InfoBits
Click here https://go.gale.com/ps/start.do?p=ITKE&u=bpl50399 https://go.gale.com/ps/start.do?p=ITKE&u=bpl50399

Description: Kids InfoBits meets the research needs of students in Kindergarten through Grade 5. It features a developmentally appropriate, visually graphic interface, a subject-based topic tree search and full-text, age-appropriate, curriculum-related magazine, newspaper and reference content for information on current events, the arts, science, health, people, government, history, sports and more. Requires a JCLC card. Full Text Available. Remote Access Available.

NFL Play60
Click here https://www.nfl.com/causes/play60

Description: These are difficult times for everyone. With the recent school closures happening across the country due to COVID-19, we understand things are getting even harder. The NFL, alongside our charitable partners, is making free digital education resources available to teachers, parents, and students to help ease a bit of the burden. Our hope is that these online resources provide you and the students in your life with support to lead a healthy and well-rounded lifestyle despite the disruption of these unprecedented times. Requires a JCLC card. Full Text Available. Remote Access Available.

Click here https://site.pebblego.com/modules

Description: Animals and Science. Emergent Reader Resource Solution. Each database features expertly-leveled text and navigation specifically designed for your beginning researchers. Enriched with spoken-word audio, text highlighting and audio/video media, PebbleGo builds a foundation of research skills for every learner. Requires a JCLC card. Full Text Available. Remote Access Available.

Read the Books
Click here https://www.readthebooks2.com/rtb/aliens/rtb_birmingham/main.html

Description: Readthebooks.com covers K-8 grades. It contains reading lists for the Birmingham-area schools. You can find books to read by topic or reading level. The majority of the books are Accelerated Reader (AR) books. Publicly Available. Remote Access Available. Video Tutorial Video tutorial by BPL on YouTube (length 6:50)

The African-American Experience 

All resources below are also available on the Birmingham Public Library website page (www.cobpl.org) and on our BPL Digital Library page . Except where indicated, these services are restricted to Birmingham city residents with active library cards.

Here are some of our most popular African-American digital resources:

African-American History Online - Click here  http://www.cobpl.org/virtual/databases/default.aspx?p=3&q=120#db

African-American History Online covers topics such as affirmative action, Africa, black nationalism, civil rights, emancipation, free blacks, the Harlem Renaissance, migrations, racial violence and hate crimes, religion, slave living conditions, slave liberation strategies, social work and philanthropy, sports, and visual arts.

Availability: Requires a JCLC card. Full Text Available. Remote Access Available.

Subjects available via the BPL Virtual Resources on African American History:

African American Biography History Society & Culture 

Audience: Middle School, High School, Adults

Birmingham Black Barons Click here http://bpldb.bplonline.org/db/blackbarons

The Birmingham Black Barons, one of the most successful baseball teams in the Negro Leagues, played from the 1920s until the 1950s. The team played their home games at Rickwood Field.

This database is a keyword index to articles that appeared in local newspapers including The Birmingham News and Birmingham World. The Government Documents Department of the Birmingham Public Library is compiling this database.

Availability: Publicly Available. Remote Access Available.

African American Local History Magazines & Newspapers 

Audience: Middle School, High School, Adults

Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century: Organizational Records and Personal Papers History Vault Click here https://hv.proquest.com/historyvault/hv.jsp?pageid=home

The Organizational Records and Personal Papers bring a new perspective to the Black Freedom Struggle via the records of major civil rights organizations and personal papers of leaders and observers of the 20th century Black freedom struggle.

The three major civil rights organizations are the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, and the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs.

Papers of civil rights leaders included in this module are those of the civil rights and labor leader A. Philip Randolph; the long-time civil rights activist and organizer of the March on Washington, Bayard Rustin, and the papers of the pioneering educator Mary McLeod Bethune.

Through records of Claude A. Barnett’s Associated Negro Press, this module also branches out to cover other aspects of African American life in the 20th century, like religion, sports, education, fraternal organizations, and even the field of entertainment.

A second part of this resource is highlighted by the records of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Africa-related papers of Claude Barnett, and the Robert F. Williams Papers. SNCC, formed by student activists in 1960 after the explosion of the sit-in movement, was one of the three most important civil rights organizations of the 1960s, alongside SCLC and the NAACP.

With the addition of SNCC records, History Vault now includes SNCC, SCLC, and NAACP records. Rounding out this module are the papers of Chicago Congressman Arthur W. Mitchell, the Chicago chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality, and records pertaining to the Mississippi Freedom Summer.

Availability: Requires a JCLC card and residence in Birmingham, AL. Full Text Available. Remote Access Available.

African American History Society & Culture

Audience: Middle School, High School, Adults

Contemporary Black Biography Click here http://www.cobpl.org/virtual/databases/default.aspx?p=3&q=274#db 

Informative biographical profiles of the important and influential persons of African American and/or black heritage. Covers persons of various nationalities in a wide variety of fields, including architecture, art, business, dance, education, fashion, film, industry, journalism, law, literature, medicine, music, politics and government, publishing, religion, science and technology, social issues, sports, television, theater, and others.

Availability: Requires a JCLC card and residency in Birmingham, Ala.

Full Text Available. Remote Access Available.

African American Biography 

Audience: Middle School, High School, Adults

Oxford African American Studies Center Click here https://oxfordaasc.com/

The Oxford African American Studies Center provides students, teachers, and scholars with an authoritative and comprehensive source on the African American experience. The site is comprised of five major encyclopedias and content from eighteen additional reference sources from Oxford University Press, including more than 8,000 articles by top scholars in the field.

The Oxford African American Studies Center combines the authority of carefully edited reference works with sophisticated technology to create the most comprehensive collection of scholarship available online to focus on the lives and events which have shaped African American and African history and culture.

Availability: Requires a JCLC card and residency in Birmingham, Ala.

Full Text Available. Remote Access Available.

Self-Improvement, Career Development 

This week we spotlight our BPL Self-Improvement, Career Development package, which provides for career, educational, and self-betterment. All resources below are also available on the Birmingham Public Library website page (www.cobpl.org) and on our Digital Library page http://www.bplonline.org/virtual/. These services are restricted to Birmingham city residents with active library cards.

Here is a description of some of our most popular online digital resources:

Gale Udemy 
Click here https://link.gale.com/apps/udemy/auth?prodId=UDEMY&userGroupName=bpl50399

Gale Udemy allows users to learn and improve skills across business, tech, design, and personal interests. Connect to over 4,000 on-demand video courses taught by world-class instructors. Courses cover the freshest and most relevant content on leadership and management, coding, design, marketing, IT operations, data science, project management, human resources, sales, accounting and finance, and productivity.

Powered by the Udemy for Business collection, this site has information on a variety of subjects:
Business Careers, Computer Skills, Education Exams/Test Preparation, General Reference, Online Learning, Personal Finance, Society & Culture Technology.

Gale Courses
Click here https://education.gale.com/l-bpl50399/ 

Gale Courses offers hundreds of online courses focused on professional development, technology skills, and personal enrichment. Six-week long courses are taught entirely online by instructors, and new sessions begin every month Subjects include Business Careers, Computer Skills, Education Exams/Test Preparation, General Reference Health & Medicine, Languages Online, and Learning Technology.

 Gale Testing & Education Research Center (TERC) 

Click here https://terc.nelnetsolutions.com/home/index

Why just point someone in the right direction when you can provide a path? Gale Testing & Education Reference Center is a valuable online tool learners can use for standardized test preparation, researching undergraduate and graduate programs, finding tuition assistance, and exploring careers.

Additionally, users will find advice on resumes, cover letters, interviewing, networking, and more. The result? They are better prepared for the next level. Subjects include Careers Education Exams/Test Preparation, Online Learning Resumes, and CVs School Information.

Ferguson's Career Guidance Center 
Click here https://fcg.infobase.com/default.asp

Ferguson's Career Guidance Center is a comprehensive career research database, providing detailed and up-to-date profiles of more than 2,050 of today's most popular jobs in more than 94 industries. This database now contains hundreds of new, in-depth job and industry descriptions; as well as a searchable archive of articles from current and past issues of Career Opportunities News, a 16-page, bi-monthly newsletter that provides timely information about colleges and the job market.

Organized by industry, Ferguson's Career Guidance Center covers careers and career resources, as well as career preparation information, including scholarships, academic programs, non-academic programs, web resources, and an employability skills checklist. An extensive "Four Steps to a New Job" section provides invaluable guidance on everything from choosing a career to finding and applying for a job to learning about employment benefits and laws. Subjects include Business Careers Resumes and CVs Audience High School/Adults.

Click here for Career Cruising link https://help.careercruising.com/

CareerCruising features career guidance information, schools database, financial aid information, portfolio tool, employment resources and other assessments. (requires user name and password to access) This resource is applicable to middle school students exploring future career options as well as potential college students and job seekers. Create a CareerCruising profile to build a customized plan or build a resume. Subjects include Careers Education Financial Aid Resumes and CVs School Information. Audience: Middle School/High School/Adults Tutorials

EBSCO Learning Express Library 
Click here for the BPL link to EBSCO Learning Express Library   https://www.learningexpresshub.com/ProductEngine/LELIndex.html#/learningexpresslibrary/libraryhome 

The EBSCO Learning Express Library gives you links to a host of online tests, tutorials and virtual  help on a variety of topics:

 • Career Preparation – Make your work goals a reality – and start a new career or advancement in your current field.

• Job & Career Accelerator- Powerful tools and guidance to achieve your career goals.

• High School Equivalency Center- Guided support and preparation to help you earn a high school equivalency credential.

 • College Admissions Test Preparation- Prepare for important exams like the ACT, SAT, AP Tests, and more.

• School Center – Skill-building resources for classroom and homework success

• College Students – Achieve your undergrad goals and prepare for future success

• Adult Core Skills – Achieve your personal education and career goals

• Computer Skills Center – Video courses to learn popular software and computer basics

• Assistance in Spanish language

• Personal Success Skills – Build skills for personal success in work and life.

Online Entertainment 

This week’s spotlight will be on BPL’s Online Entertainment Resources, which provides access to free movies, TV shows, music, comics, magazines, eBooks, eAudio, and more.

Birmingham Public Library Digital Online Entertainment

All resources below are also available on the Birmingham Public Library main website page (www.cobpl.org) and on our Digital Library page http://www.bplonline.org/virtual/.

With exception of OverDrive, these services are restricted to Birmingham city residents with active library cards. For OverDrive services are available to Jefferson County residents with library cards.

OverDrive (eBooks & downloadable audiobooks) 

Borrow (download) and read free eBooks and listen to free audiobooks from your library using your PC, Mac, phone, or tablet. https://jclc.overdrive.com/jclc-birmingham/content 

Hoopla (eBooks, downloadable audio, movies, TV shows, comics, & music) 

Bringing you hundreds of thousands of movies, full music albums, audiobooks and more, Hoopla is a revolutionary digital service made possible by your local library. From Hollywood blockbusters to best-selling artists and authors – not just the hits, but the niche and hard-to-find as well – you’ll soon discover that hoopla provides you the freedom you've been searching for to experience, explore and enjoy what you want, when you want, and where you want. Simple to access and use, without the hassle of having to return the items you've borrowed, all you need is your library card, a web browser, smart phone or tablet to get started.

Hoopla has also expanded the number of items you can borrow from 6 to 9. See below https://resources.hoopladigital.com/success-center/more-hoopla-bonus-borrows/

The freedom you want is here, now on Hoopla. Sign up today by clicking here

Freegal (music) Unlimited Music Streaming-- FREE

Freegal Music Service includes millions of songs from ten thousand labels including the labels of Sony Music Entertainment. Stream or download music. Music streaming is unlimited. The Freegal Music downloaded files are DRM-FREE, Mp3 files that can be played on any device (including iPods). Even better, the downloaded music file is yours to keep with no due date and no expiration date.

There is a limit of 3 music downloads per week per valid card number. https://bham.freegalmusic.com/home

Flipster (magazines) Read magazines online.

Get access to magazines such as Allrecipes, Atlantic, Better Homes & Gardens, Black Beauty & Hair, Black Enterprise, Consumer Reports Buying Guide, Cosmopolitan, Diabetes Self-Management, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, Essence, Forbes, Good Housekeeping, Health, HGTV Magazine, Kiplinger’s, Motor Trend, My Wedding, O The Oprah Magazine, People, Popular Mechanics, Prevention, Real Simple, Rolling Stone, Slam, Southern Living, Sports Illustrated, Time, US Weekly, and Wired.

To access Flipster, click here http://www.cobpl.org/virtual/databases/default.aspx?p=3&q=243#db

Kanopy (movies) 

Kanopy is a video streaming platform for libraries with one of the largest collections in the world (5x Netflix) - over 30,000 films featuring over 1,000 producers including Criterion Collection, Media Education Foundation, Great Courses, Kino Lorber, etc. Our films are more typically "educative" in nature (documentaries, foreign language films, etc.) and our motto is "thoughtful entertainment" - seeking to provide patrons access to films of social and cultural importance.
To access Kanopy, click here https://birminghampl.kanopy.com/

Mango (languages) 

Mango is an online language learning system that teaches real conversation skills for practical communication. Through fun and engaging interactive lessons, Mango makes learning a new language fast, easy and incredibly effective. The system is completely web-based and remotely accessible, so you can learn anywhere you have an internet connection.

As you listen to and repeat after native speakers, you'll learn more than just words and phrases. You’ll learn how those pieces can be rearranged and combined to make new thoughts, new conversations, and even more practical communication! Language options include more than you can shake a stick at. You can even learn to speak Pirate. Inglés Para Hablantes De Español.

New features include watching full-length foreign films (Mango Premiere) and a native Android and Apple Store application that you can link to your library-authenticated Mango account.

To access BPL Mango link, click here  https://learn.mangolanguages.com/login?gymToken=ZjRjNTliMjk5YTFkYTEwMGI6dXVpZD0tMSxleHA9MTYwNTE4ODc5OSxpcD0xLHVybD0wLGE9NDczMyxjbGllbnRfaXA9MTk4LjQ5LjMxLjMscmVmZXJyZXI9&r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bplonline.org%2Fvirtual%2Fdatabases%2Fdefault.aspx%3Fp