Electronic Resources


Go to Britannica SmartmathsI struggle to love maths. Distant memories of being made to stand in front of class and recite my times tables as a child still haunt me. Of course my maths learning took place in the dark old days when the most fun you could have was putting in certain numbers on your calculator and turning it upside down so it would spell  “BOOB”. We have moved on from there so  let me introduce you to something much more fun. Britannica SmartMaths Practice  aims to improve confidence in all areas of maths using a game like interface with six different levels depending on age and skill.  It covers topics such as:

  • Numbers: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions and percentages;
  • Shape and Space: curves, angles, quadrilaterals, triangles, circles and symmetry;
  • Algebra: elementary and complex equations;
  • Measures: length and distance, time, money, perimeter, area, volume and speed;
  • Data Handling: pictograms, block graphs, charts, statistics, probability, coordinate geometry.

It is aimed at those aged 6-14 years of age with activities and quizzes, but I can tell you as a grown up of a certain age it was a revelation to me too!  You can even earn badges and points that can be used to choose a different character to cheer you on. I don’t think maths would have been half as traumatic if I could have worked my way through a bright happy place such as this! Get those kids learning with this – and have a look yourself. You would be amazed at what you have forgotten!

Whoever said three is a crowd has not used our eBook resources! As of the 1st of August we have welcomed the arrival of Askews, a new British based eBook platform that intends to enthrall us all with its British based content that we have not be able to get elsewhere. To clarify our triple take on eBooks, we have:

OverDrive: Our first and largest eBook and eAudiobook collection which has a very American twang to its content;

Wheelers: As Kiwi as Billy T and just as entertaining with its New Zealand focused content;

Askews: Britannia’s eBook collection with assorted British titles, authors and publishers. Best enjoyed with a cup of tea and cucumber sandwiches while watching the polo.

Like all eBook platforms the idea is to find, download and enjoy. What is slightly different is that you cannot check in Askews eBooks early and you get to choose how many days you want to have the eBook out – as long as it is no longer than 21 days.

Have a gander at what Askews has to offer and see if you can expand your mind with the musings Gordon Ramsay or scare the stuffings out of yourself with Ruth Rendell.

Tally Ho chums!

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Mid-July is here already, how much more winter can you get? I spent a whole day this past weekend where I never left the house. Well, I did go down the drive to get the paper, but that was hardly adventurous.

Book cover of Soup

I quite like spending a day slouching about, not achieving much, not expecting to achieve much, but  relaxing and unwinding and trying to cast aside the thoughts that try to surface on a Sunday, thoughts such as, “I can’t believe the weekend is gone so fast AGAIN.”

So what did I do? Slept in until 10, then threw some ingredients into the slow cooker to make pumpkin soup.  A notion to eat Bacon Butties while reading the paper was satisfied as we had the crucial ingredients of bacon, bread and even the butty bit.

A check in on Facebook, my shameful addiction, took longer than I thought it should, along with the usual email mass deletion along with my background habit of randomly finding tunes on YouTube to listen to as I do other things.

I downloaded some songs I wanted to keep on Freegal, and checked my library holds, which seem to be stubbornly taking a lifetime to arrive. Librarians suffer from the same curse as many of our customers. You put a heap of items on reserve and then you wait and wait, then they all arrive at once!

I did a bit of reading; I’m almost finished I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, which I suspect is not the author’s real name.Book Cover of I am Number Four

Lunch was pretty haphazard, then my husband and I settled in for a Breaking Bad fest. We are probably the only two people in the known world not to have seen this so far gripping series, and we have luckily avoided knowing what happens at the end of the sixth season.

I do enjoy looking out of the windows at the weather on a quiet weekend. If it is rainy and horrible, then I can feel cosy and grateful I have a warm house to settle into for the day. If it’s sunny and bright I look at the garden and try not to feel guilty for not being out sorting the garden.

The afternoon meandered on with not a lot of purpose. I made some scones in the afternoon, to keep our strength up, you understand, and for dinner we had some pumpkin soup.

And so the day was over… not much to show for it, but that’s OK with me, we felt relaxed and revived and ready for whatever the next week would throw at us…bring on next weekend.

OverDrive our popular eBook and downloadable eAudiobook platform has reproduced! No longer do kids and teens have to trawl through bodice rippers and murder mysteries, instead they can go straight to a collection aimed purely at their level and interests. Each has their own attributes:

OverDrive for kidsOverDrive for Kids: Lots of princesses, ponies and pinkness, snot, trucks, and noise.

OverDrive for TeensOverDrive for Teens: The highs and lows of body image, relationships and the occasional supernatural romantic conflict, adventure, death, and grunting.

The wonderful thing about eBooks and eAudiobooks for kids and teens is that there are no fines. Digital files are unchewable and are impossible to lose under the couch or under the landfill that makes up a teenager’s bedroom. They are also somewhat more interactive than print so keep kids and teens reading while maintaining a semblance of “street” credibility.

Have a look today and see what you think. You can get back to the main OverDrive collection by hitting the Home button to the top left of the screen.

ArtemisArtemis is the Greek goddess of the hunt and the wilderness which makes her a fitting namesake for our latest electronic arrival: Gale Artemis: Literary Sources! Artemis lets you cross search all of Gale Cengage’s literary resources in one search. Through Artemis you can search all of these at once:

  • LitFinder: full text poems, short stories, essays, speeches, plays and novels. LitFinder offers the written works of more than 80,000 authors;
  • Literature Resource Center: full text articles, critical essays and reviews and overviews of frequently studied works;
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library: access to a subset of electronic reference books that cover literature.

It is sort of like doing a  Google search on literature but you get more relevant and authoritative results all with proper punctuation. It doesn’t matter if you are searching because you have an assignment, or if you are trying to remember the rest of that poem you can only recall snatches of – there is something for everyone.

I will leave you with a beauty of a quote about literature by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald…

That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.

Sigh! You can access this resource from any library or from home through the Source using your library card number and password/PIN.

PunchWe are so used to taking the mickey out of those in power that it seems hard to believe that there was ever a time when we were supposed to be more reverential.  The proper grown up term for “taking the mick” is satire and the magazine that was renowned for it was Punch, a British magazine established in 1841 which had its editorial meetings at the pub!

Punch has had a huge influence on media including giving us the concept of  a “cartoon” from the Italian cartone, for a sketch on a large piece of cardboard. Punch appropriated the term to refer to its political cartoons, and the popularity of the cartoons led to the term’s widespread use. So the next time you open up The Press to the opinions page for the cartoon you can think back to Punch. Taking the mick has a long history!

You can now search the Punch Historical Archive 1841-1992 by keyword or browse issues by date to explore the social, political and  historical concerns of a time span of 150 years. It is especially relevant in exploring attitudes towards World War One in this its anniversary year with truly fascinating iconography. The cartoons of the suffragettes are also amazing – how far we have come!

You can access this resource in libraries or from home using your library card number and password/PIN. Use and enjoy!

Cover of I hate to readLittle boys are different to little girls. Nowhere was this made more obvious to me than when I visited my two and a half year old nephew Oscar, who had a shiny black eye. Apparently he threw himself off the couch before his Mum could catch him and clobbered the side of a coffee table. It didn’t seem to worry him any, but he didn’t see the stares we were getting from strangers!

Now you can put it all down to biology or social conditioning but little boys seem to have no idea that gravity does actually apply to them. They take sitting still as a sign of defeat! Now it would be wrong to generalise. I personally bit the head off my sisters Barbie and had a farm set. My parents thought I would be a vet or a serial killer. So not all girls like pink and not all boys are trouble. Regardless of where they fall on the spectrum we all want them reading. So how do we get  boys to read?  Here are a few ideas if you think reading in a more interactive way would help…..

  • TumbleBook Library: Online books that are animated, can be narrated by the author or read aloud. Aimed at the under 12 year olds.
  • TumbleBook Cloud: Online books that include graphic novels and audio books. Aimed at those between 12-17!
  • OverDrive: Downloadable eBooks and audiobooks aimed at toddlers up. From picture books to gruesome adventures all at the touch of a button.

The other lesser known joy in using these products is that they are impossible to chew and will give you no overdue fines! Have a play and see if it works!

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Biography Reference CenterWe like to watch other people. We like to hear about other people. There are entire industries based around writing and photographing people who we will never need to meet. It is all probably based on an evolutionary need to distinguish friend from foe but it continues to this day in our everyday habits and the media we watch.

If your needs are for research – or pure evolutionary based interest – then we have the online resources for you in the form of:

Biography Reference Center: (new) What do Angelina Jolie, Confucius, Alexander Fleming and Roger Federer all have in common? They are all here in the Biography Reference Center along with 450,000 others.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: includes the ‘great and the good’ and the ‘bad and unusual’ people who are now dead having left their mark on the British empire.

Biography in Context: information about more than one million people ranging from George Clooney to Boudicca. There are stories of courage, malice and romance! Sort of an academic Mills and Boons.

All you need to quench your curiosity about people of note  you will find in these electronic resources accessible 24/7 from home or in libraries. All you need is your library card number and password/PIN. People watch and search away…

Happy gawking.

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