Back to School

by Judy Pruitt,CPL Librarian
Originally published by the Columbia Daily Tribune.

The library can help your student get started on the right foot this school year

As a new school year approaches, keep in mind that the library has many resources — both print and electronic — to help your kids brush up on critical skills, conduct meaningful research and develop stellar projects.

For example, the 2009 "World Book Discovery Encyclopedia" (World Book, 13 volumes), a comprehensive reference ideal for younger students and visual learners of all ages, is just one of the up-to-date resources located in the children’s reference section. However, don’t neglect to check the adult reference section for many more items useful to students, such as numerous volumes of science experiments and science fair project ideas; several American history encyclopedias like the popular “American Decades" (Gale Research, 10 volumes); “Fashion, Costume, and Culture” (UXL, five volumes); "Lands and Peoples” (Scholastic, six volumes); and “Something About the Author” (Gale, 112 volumes). In addition, we have several books containing recommended reading lists, such as “Beyond Picture Books: Subject Access to Best Books for Beginning Readers", 3rd ed. (Barstow, 645 pages), and numerous book lists covering a variety of topics and reading levels.

Don’t forget about the library’s vast collection of audio and visual resources. Adding short music or video clips from our DVDs or CDs can really make projects and presentations shine. Working on Missouri history projects? We have the Columbia Daily Tribune on microfilm going back to 1900, so your students can find out what was going on in town during the time period they are studying.

In addition to our outstanding collections, our Columbia facility offers many other conveniences for students, such as comfortable study areas and study rooms that are available for groups of as many as four people. Study room users must be at least 12 years old and must present an ID or library card. Computers in the children’s area are loaded with popular educational games, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, and offer printing upon request. Public computer areas feature both Internet and non-Internet computers with Microsoft Office and printers, and there is even a computer on the third floor dedicated solely to the library’s online databases.

Wireless Internet access is available throughout the building, public copiers are provided on each floor, and fax service and color printing are available at the second-floor reference desk. Several supplies are available for purchase at the check-out desk in the lobby, such as paper, floppy disks, headphones and, coming soon, flash drives. Homework helper kits are available for in-building use at the children’s and reference desks and contain supplies such as calculators, scissors and crayons.

As much as we enjoy seeing you in the library, your student doesn’t have to visit the building to use many of our resources. A wide variety of subscription databases are accessible via our web site. Many basic reference works are available online, such as World Book, including World Book Student and World Book Kids; Infotrac featuring indexed articles from many popular periodicals as well as dictionaries, an almanac, etc. Learning Express Library not only provides online preparation materials for an extensive array of standardized tests, elementary through adult levels, but also offers skills improvement courses in math, reading and writing for elementary, middle school and high school.

Also available on our web site are customized subject guides created by our librarians, which feature recommended web sites, related databases, materials from our collection and local resources. Sample topics include: sports, black culture and history, health and medicine, and sustaining the environment. Two subject guides that are particularly useful for students are Homework Help, which categorizes and describes our best online resources to help with schoolwork; and Homeschooling, which features links to local activities and Internet resources beneficial to all students — not just home-schoolers.

Several upcoming library programs are designed to inspire young learners. A Way With Words, A Way With Numbers a free tutoring program for elementary students provided by the University of Missouri, will resume in September. A two-day computer camp for fourth- through sixth-graders on Sept. 24 and 25 will take students through the research process using the library’s online resources and will culminate in the publication of their own mini-reports complete with graphics.

Missouri author Jennifer Brown, whose first book for teens, “The Hate List” (Little, Brown Young Readers, 416 pages), is set to be released in September, will visit the library at 7 p.m. Oct. 21. Check our web site or pick up a program guide to make sure you don’t miss any of the wonderful opportunities available for your student at the library.

Copyright © 2014 Daniel Boone Regional Library