Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Learn a Language Before You Know It

Check out our new online language learning service called BYKI (as in before you know it)! Just enter your library card number and then create your own username and password. Click on the Quick Start button and you're set to go. BYKI features more than 70 different languages as well as English for Arabic, Spanish or Chinese-speakers.

Or you can click on the "word of the day" tab to learn a new word in your chosen language--what a great New Year's resolution!

I'm leanring Italian, what will you choose?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Treasury Hunt - Is there money out there with your name on it?

Remember when US Savings Bonds were given as gifts for weddings, birthdays, christenings, etc.? Did yours mature? Did you cash them in? Maybe they are still in a file somewhere? If you're not sure, check out the Treasury's new website: Treasury Hunt to find out if you or a loved one has savings bonds that have stopped earning interest. The site includes forms for lost, stolen, or destroyed bonds as well as ones to reinvest your bonds so that they are earning interest again.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Best FREE Websites!

The American Library Association has put together its eleventh annual list of the best FREE reference websites for 2009. The current list contains 29 websites that the ALA has recognized as outstanding sites. Topics include presidents, careers, countries, the Bible, books, newspapers, health, scholarships, language, hiking, gardening, science, sports, and more!

Here are a few of my favorites from the list:

Title: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

This site is one of the fastest ways to find information about the exploitive practices of 4000 businesses worldwide, which would be difficult to locate by other means. Users can begin searching by company name, issue, country, or topic. Balanced coverage is provided via news, announcements, and special resources while providing responses from the accused companies. By making negative enterprise behavior more transparent, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre may help stop companies’ human rights abuses.

Title: PDRhealth (TM)

Drawing on the trusted Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR®), this site provides information for prescriptions drugs, over-the-counter medications, and herbals/supplements. Included are recommended dosage, side effects, possible food and drug reactions, and in many cases pictures to assist with drug identification. It also offers excellent overviews of numerous diseases and conditions, from kidney stones and migraines to teething and Cushing Syndrome. And there is even of listing of clinical trials, searchable by region and illness, for those living with cancer or rare diseases.

Title: Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)

The Writing Lab at Purdue houses 200 free writing resources and instructional materials for students, teachers, and trainers. Included are formatting and style guides, grammar and mechanics, internet literacy, ESL, job search and technical writing, and research. There are sections geared to writing for specific disciplines (e.g. experimental report writing in psychology) and forms (e.g. writing about poetry).

Title: Sports Reference

This valuable resource provides statistics for four major sports: baseball, football, basketball, and hockey, and each sport’s section is browsable and searchable in many ways. Baseball aficionados will find regular season box scores back to 1957 along with minor league stats back to 1992. Football lovers can look up draft picks and review single season and career leaders in passing, rushing, and kicking. Basketball devotees can find the top performers and award winners of the NBA and WNBA. Hockey enthusiasts will be able to find all players who wore the sweater number 25. With all of this and an additional section focused on Olympics history, Sports Reference hits the ball out of the park!

**Since the Web is constantly changing, readers should note that these Web sites were as annotated on the date the member reviewed the site**

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Freedom To Read

September 26 through October 3 is Banned Book Week but we are celebrating the Freedom to Read!

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. All of the books featured during the week have been targets of attempted bannings. The American Library Association recorded 513 challenges in 2008 but estimates that this reflects only 20-25% of actual incidents, as most challenges are never reported. Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections.

There are some great resources to check out to celebrate your freedom to read:

- RRPL Adult Services Read it or Weep blog discusses favorite banned books
- The ALA co-sponsors the Banned Books Week website that offers a wealth of information
- Check out the Interactive Google Map from the Banned Books Week website to see where all the challenges and bannings have occurred from 2007-2009. You might be surprised!

The 10 Most Challenged Books of 2008
- And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
- His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
- TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series) by Lauren Myracle
- Scary Stories (series) by Alvin Schwartz
- Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
- Gossip Girl (series) by Cecily von Ziegesar
- Uncle Bobby's Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- Flashcards of My Life by Charise Mericle Harper

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stay Informed and Stay Healthy

Concerned about the swine flu? The following resources will help you stay prepared and up-to-date.

The Centers for Disease Control: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is the best swine flu (H1N1 is the medical classification) resource on the Web. The site provides general information as well as audio and video resources and social media like widgets, podcasts, and social networking. It also provides fact sheets, scientific background on viruses and updated surveillance statistics.

The New York State Department of Health: The state health department site provides some of the best information available on the swine flu. It features data on current outbreaks, frequently asked questions about the flu, and tips on prevention. It’s a good resource even if you don’t live in New York.

Google Maps swine flu outbreak map: Created by biochemist Henry L. Niman, founder of Recombinomics, the swine flu outbreak map helps you find every known instance of the swine flu around the world. The map also provides information on the current state of the person with the flu. It will be continuously updated, so you can track it each day.

HealthMap: If you want to try out another map to see where the swine flu is heading, HealthMap is for you. It provides information from a variety of sources. And it maps all the known outbreaks of sicknesses ranging from the swine flu to Typhoid.

H1N1 Timeline: The H1N1 Timeline helps you determine where the flu is and where it's going. You can track where it started and get information about its progression. Your one stop resource for government information on H1N1 and other types of flu. The site includes information for parents, caregivers, businesses, and travelers among others.

United States National Library of Medicine: The Library of Medicine has a wealth of highly organized information on state, federal, and international levels.

By visiting our website, you can access even more resources on the right hand side of our home page including:

FREE Evidence Based Influenza Information

Swine Flu Fact Sheet

Ohio Swine Flu Newsletter

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Make the OPTIMAL Impression

I want to introduce you to a fantastic career resource called OptimalResume. Rocky River Public Library has subscribed to OptimalResume, the leading online service to produce resumes, letters, store portfolio documents, receive interview training, perform self assessments and create video resumes. You can access your account anywhere, anytime!
You can use this website to:

  • Manage an unlimited number of career documents from one central location.

  • Create high-impact, interactive career materials based on your career goals.

  • Share your credentials with your network on your own professional website and across social networking sites.

Check out all the great tools OptimalResume offers:
Resumes – build your resume from a high-quality sample or create your own. Portfolios - Online portfolios document your education, work samples, and skills. They are very useful for applying to jobs and training programs, demonstrating your transferable skills, and tracking your professional development. Portfolios are made up of projects that contain files and links. The portfolio builder supports many common document, image, audio and video file types.

Interview Prep - You control all aspects of your interview practice session, including the interview type, the number of questions, your response format, and the interviewer. This is a great way to practice your answers for an interview and become comfortable

Website Builder - You can create a customized website that includes a variety of professional documents, as well as links to your social networking profiles, like LinkedIn and Twitter. You can link viewers to your blog and add a professional photo. You can even keep your website confidential and allow only certain people to see it.

The Letter Builder - The letter builder combines expert advice and high-quality samples to help you create focused, targeted letters many opportunities. Cover letters are so important because they can provide an employer with a positive impression of you and your accomplishments.

Skill Assessment - If you are thinking of entering the workforce or changing careers, the skills assessment module is a great place to start. Skills assessments can help you identify and present your transferable skills and abilities to prospective employers and are especially helpful for creating targeted resumes and cover letters, and preparing for job interviews.

Video Resume - The video resume module makes it easy to introduce yourself and highlight your professional capabilities to prospective employers. There are two ways you can create your video resume. Option 1 is to create a short script for your video resume and to use the built-in teleprompter when recording. Option 2 is to skip creating a script and to begin recording your video resume immediately.

To access this amazing resource, visit our website at Click on ‘My Research’ at the top of our homepage. On the next page you'll find a link to the OptimalResume website.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Not Too Late To Pick Up a Beach Read

NPR listeners recently voted for their favorite top 100 Beach Reads of all time. The titles run from classics to the latest bestsellers. I know many of my favorites are listed. Why not check out the list and grab a good read? Summer will be over before you know it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Better Than Google Biographies

Biography Reference Bank from WilsonWeb offers thousands of full-text biographies all in one easy-to-use database. Available from RRPL's website with your library card, BRB now offers the ability to hear a document or translate it into several different languages, even Chinese!

This new feature is especially useful for the visually impaired or non-English speakers. At the top of any biography you are viewing, there is a link to "Listen to Document." Click this, and a pop-up window will open showing the bio, with options to listen to it (you can download the audio also if you wish).

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Download and Listen UP!!

Did you know that our OverDrive download serivce now has more iPod-friendly audiobooks? Just upgrade your OverDrive Media Console and your iPod will play the windows-based files.

Even if your not in to the latest bestsellers, there's plenty to pick from. Try one of the Freeway Guides to make your drive more productive:

For more information visit

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Researching The Economic Downturn?--Get The Facts!

Having trouble deciphering the governmental double speak? Wondering what events caused all this economic mess? Get THE FACTS about the Economic Crisis as well as many other topics from our Facts on File World News Digest database that covers world events from 1940 to the present day. Just click on the "locally purchased databases" link on our webpage and enter your library card number. There you'll find in-depth coverage of the Economic Crisis, Iraq War, obituaries back to 1980, and even newspaper editorials. You can even click on the "research topics" links to get ideas for your student research papers. Why waste time googling when you can get the facts at your fingertips?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Finding Help in Tough Times

The State Library of Ohio has launched a new webpage called Find Help in Tough Times, a one-stop center on their website created to help state residents quickly locate important information and resources during these difficult economic times.

Find Help in Tough Times is divided into six sections that include, Employment, Financial, Health & Wellness, Housing, Parenting, and Help for Seniors. Within these sections there are links to help with topics such as finding jobs, training opportunities, services for the unemployed, insurance, home health care, childcare, tax help, and more.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Wolfram Alpha - The knowledge engine

Have you tried the new computational knowledge engine Wolfram Alpha? If not, you need to check it out. Its not a search engine, but rather a tool to help you compute just about anything. Try asking it to compare Lincoln and JFK--you'll get their full names, birth and death dates and places as well as a timeline to show when they lived.

It can compare stocks, do complicated math equations and just about anything else involving numbers.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

College Choice Made Easy!

Unigo is a five-month old web site that uses real-live students to create content about what life is really like in college. These first-hand accounts (primary source really) give teens who are considering college information that is different than what they might receive via a college tour, in a college catalog, or in a brochure. The site has a useful search feature so potential students (and their parents) can look for specific programs, types of students, interests, and so on in order to discover exactly what an institution has to offer. (Note: Unigo is still in the development phase which means not every institution in the country is included with full content.)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Where has THIS been all my (school-aged) life?

Anyone heard of

If you need to do a bibliography (MLA style), you can pop in the ISBN (or title/author) and it will do it for you for free! Some 8 year-old just filled us in on that one! Covers all types of materials.

p.s. You can get APA and Chicago/Turabian styles too but they cost $.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Google News Timeline Gives Readers the Whole Story

Paul Harvey used to give us "the rest of the story." Now we can use Google News Timeline to do the same--to look at how a famous person's career has progressed, to overview societal trends, or even to follow stories that were buried in your newspaper's back pages until something put them in the limelight.

The main page of Google News Timeline displays the week's top stories in columns representing one day. Users can drag the results left, right, up or down, much as they can with Google Maps, to see different days or to scroll deeper within a day. They can also change the time intervals to weekly, monthly or yearly. One of the most interesting features of the main news page is that it includes Time magazine covers, so users can easily view world events over the years.

Check it out!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Online Calculators

Do you need to know what time it is in Tonga? Do you need to quadruple your favorite recipe? Are you unsure of how much yarn to buy for that new pair of socks you want to knit? Do you need to refresh your memory on how to calculate the area of a room? The website can help you figure out these answers and more. Popular calculators include standard, graphing and scientific calculators. Scan the calculator directory for more specialized calculators. Categories of calculators include, but are not limited to, agriculture, engineering, manufacturing, and sports. Once you have found the calculator to solve your problem take a minute and check out the just for fun calculators!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Account Closed?

Have you ever tried to close an online account? It can be frustrating and difficult. You think that you removed everything only to find yourself still listed. Why take chances--a recent article in PC Magazine details the steps to close your account on both social networking and commercial sites like Facebook, Amazon, LinkedIn, MySpace, iTunes, and even eBay.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Express Yourself

Need to brush up on your skills before looking for a new job? Try our database Learning Express Library that offers skill building exercises for adults from computers to job searching and workplace skills. Just enter your Rocky River library card number and create a user name and password. Learning Express will then keep track of your progress. You'll be able to take tests from civil serive and cosmetology to nursing or real estate licensing.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

March is Caffeine Awareness Month

Daylight savings time began this morning. Did you need an extra cup of coffee to get going? Hmmm....could you be addicted to caffeine? March is caffeine awareness month. Check out these sites to determine if you are one of the millions who are:

CaffeineAwarenessCalculator Use this caffeine calculator to determine how much caffeine you consume each day.

TheCoffeeJunkie'sGuidetoCaffeineAddiction An article from New York Magazine (June 2008) that discusses caffeine addiction.

And if you just want your coffee, check out CoffeeCoffeeCoffee! -- everything you ever wanted to know about coffee.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

No Fear Freelancing

Out of a job and thinking about trying freelancing to make some money? It can be a scary proposition, but we've found some surefire sites to help you. Check out a site that can help you find jobs. There are also sites to help you deal with time management and invoicing like InvoiceJournal .

Many more helpful sites can be found on a blog called Mashable. Here's a link to their posting of 85+ Tools & Resources for Freelancers and Web Workers. There's something for everyone on this list.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Human Touch

Everyone hates those automated phone systems where you just have to keep pushing buttons and can't get a real live person on the line. Next time you have to call, try first. It's the website that lists major companies and how to get past their automated systems to speak directly with someone. GetHuman really works! And although we can't guarantee that you'll get the answer you want to hear, we're sure that you'll get it much quicker than ever before.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stimulating Information

Still trying to sort through all the stimulus package information you've been hearing about? Want to know what's in it for Ohio? What's true and what's not? Find it all in one quick link: From here you can search by state or city. We think you'll find it all very interesting.

Making Your Day Easier

Reference librarians learn something new everyday. We want to make your day easier by sharing what we learn with you. Whether it is a helpful website, a great new book, or just an interesting bit of trivia, we're sure you'll find our postings both educational and entertaining.