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