Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Public Library Trends

Here are some interesting statistics concerning public libraries:

According to a 2009 survey visits to public libraries nationwide rose 19% between 1997 and 2007. During that same time period circulation increased by 12%.

Between 2000 and 2007 the use of Internet terminals increased by 90% (public libraries are the only source of free Internet access). In addition, expenditures on electronic materials increased by 81% between 1997 and 2007.

Most of the above statistics have been discussed in the media during our current economic recession. Library advocates use these statistics to stress the growing need for public library services. However, there are other public library trends that demonstrate a wider diversity of services that patrons need and expect.
  • Electronic databases with remote access are replacing print resources for journals, magazines, newspapers and reference materials in ever increasing numbers. Patrons require research assistance to help navigate these databases.
  • Wireless local area networks are becoming commonplace in libraries as patrons use the library as a working space.
  • Demand for down loadable electronic books. The ability to order and renew all library items online.
  • Help with online job applications as America's leading companies require potential hourly employees to submit applications electronically
  • Assistance creating e-mail accounts
  • The growing need for subscription job databases and links to web-based job sites.
  • Assistance creating resumes and cover letters
  • More and more state and federal government services are moving online. Consequently, patrons need help downloading state and federal tax forms and instructions; Registry of Motor Vehicle forms, and unemployment forms.
  • Low income patrons have come to rely on free tax preparation services
  • Access to civil service exam materials online
  • Classes in basic computer skills
  • The new generation of library users want to find information online. They expect portals that combine book catalogs, e-journals, and reference materials
  • The new generation also expects virtual reference (answering reference questions electronically in real-time). Virtual reference is the current extension of remote-based services.
  • The new generation participates heavily in online interactive group spaces. Libraries now use these tools (blogs, microblogging, my space, facebook) to build awareness of library programs and services as well as reader's advisory
  • The library is one of the only free sources patrons have for ESL services and resources
According to current trends in library careers the most highly requested skills include experience in teaching and instruction, knowledge of integrated library systems, and the ability to create online tutorials.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Child & Family WebGuide


Due to the ever expanding World Wide Web parents and professionals often have difficulty locating the information they want. Even when this information seems to be relevant it is difficult to determine if it is credible.

The Child & Family WebGuide, sponsored by Tufts University, describes trustworthy websites on topics of interest to parents and professionals. All the websites listed have been systematically evaluated by graduate students and faculty in child development. These websites, selected from thousands that are available, are chosen because they provide the most up-to-date research on the topic. The goal of this web portal is to give the public easy access to the best child development information on the web.

There are five main categories of information: family/parenting, education/learning, typical child development, health/mental health and resources/recreation.The articles are updated regularly. This resource offers an option of searching for sites that are especially relevant to a particular age group (topics by age) and it offers several features requested by parents (e.g., ask an expert and research news).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Resources for High School and College Students at the Worcester Public Library

Many people are not aware that public libraries house a vast collection of magazines, newspapers, newsletters and scholarly journals. Scholarly journals are a great source for research topics for a number of reasons: they are written for students and/or professionals, the articles are reviewed by other scholars, and these articles frequently contain tables, charts, graphs and statistics.

Scholarly journals qualify as primary source material when the article was written at the time of the topic. They also qualify as such when the article constitutes a report that reflects the results of a scientific experiment or study. Other primary sources, such as a letter, speech, or interview, can also be found in these journals.

The easiest way to find an article on your topic is by searching one of several online databases. Many of the articles contain the full text and can be printed or emailed. Online databases are a fairly new technology. Consequently, the articles available will only date from about the 1980s to the present. However, database articles do cover all topics: literature, social sciences, health, business, biography, law, and more.

With a valid library card you can search the databases from home or in the library by clicking ONLINE DATABASES from our homepage: http://www.worcpublib.org/ The following are just some of the databases:

Contemporary Literary Criticism
Biography Resource Center
Health Reference Center
General Business File
Expanded Academic
General Reference Center

If the database does not have the full text of an article the library will get it for you. Just write down all or most of the following information:

  1. title of the article
  2. author
  3. name of the magazine the article is in
  4. volume or issue number of the magazine
  5. date of the magazine
  6. page(s) tht the article appears on
If the topic of interest dates back further than the database (pre-1980) you can still find articles. The library retains and archives back issues of its magazine subscriptions. Simply use one or more of the appropriate "indexes" that are kept in our periodicals department. Ask any librarian to assist you. Some of the indexes include:

Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature
International Index Guide to Periodical Literature
Humanities Index
Social Science Index

Newspaper articles are another great primary source if the article was written at the time of the topic. The Worcester Public Library has an online resource called MASSACHUSETTS NEWSTAND that provides full-text articles from the following newspapers: the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and twelve other newspapers from cities and towns in Massachusetts. Most of the newspapers in the database date back to 1990 and some as far back as 1980.

If the topic precedes these dates you can try using the newspaper indexes in the periodicals department: the Boston Globe Index or the New York Times Index. The library has every copy of the New York Times on microfilm back to 1851, the Boston Globe back to 1960, and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette back to 1888. The library also has another half dozen or more Massachusetts and Worcester newspapers on microfilm that date back to 1821 and are kept in the history department.
Official Records are also considered a primary source. Consequently, some of the best primary source material at the Worcester Public Library can be found in the large collection of government publications. The federal government is one of the largest publishers in the world and the Worcester Public Library was designated to collect and archive many of those publications.

For instance, government publications contain current and historical Census materials, Congressional publications and reports, as well as laws and regulations. Other primary sources include presidential papers and speeches, military histories and tactics, maps from the U.S. Geological Survey, transcripts of war trials, and publications of the National Archives. Government publications are also your best source for statistics on every subject imaginable.
Government publications can be found by using the Library Catalog. The library uses Library of Congress subject headings to classify those publications as well as all other books, video, and audio recordings. Primary source keywords are:
  • correspondence
  • diaries
  • interviews
  • speeches
  • personal narratives
  • documents
  • sources

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Employment & Training Resources in Worcester

The following is a list of agencies in Worcester that offer services to adults who are seeking employment. The agencies in the second half of the list cater to special populations. I have excluded any agencies, like the YWCA, that charge a fee.

Workforce Central Worcester
340 Main Street, 4th Floor
Worcester, MA 01608
(508) 799-1600 to register

Services Provided:
Career counseling & referrals to job openings.
Job search skill development (resume and online application help).
Computer training classes.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Business Empowerment Center
237 Chandler Street
Worcester, MA 01609

Services Provided:
Resume and interview preparation.
Job search skills.
Computer training.

Worcester Public Library
3 Salem Street
Worcester, MA 01608

Services Provided:
Resume help on Wednesday evenings, by appoint. Call 508-799-1655 x3.
Job & Career Accelerator database classes Wednesday evening and Friday morning.
The database provides a platform for creating a resume and cover letter, Internet job
searching, tutorials, and exam preparation.

raining Resources of America
332 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01608

Services Provided:
Provides assistance to persons aged 16-24 with career counseling and assistance in finding

Worcester Community Action Council

Job and Education Center
484 Main Street, Denholm Building
Worcester, MA 01608

Services Provided:
Multiple service education, job skills and job placement for eligible out-of-school young adults
ages 16-24.

Dress for Success

484 Main Street Suite 101 Denholm Building
Worcester, MA 01608

Services Provided:
Provides clothing appropriate for job searching as well as career coaching.

Unemployment Benefits

Workforce Central
340 Main Street, 4th Floor
Worcester, MA 01608

You can apply in person or by phone. If applying by phone call the TeleClaim Center at

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sign up for FREE Computer Classes!

Need help with Internet, Email, Online Job Applications and Searches? A librarian can help!

Sign up for FREE Computer Classes
at the 2nd floor desk or call 508-799-1655 x3

I. Computer Basics for Beginners (4 Fridays, 9:30 am -10:30 am)

If you do not have any computer skills, need to get started with Internet, MS Word, or email, this course will help you. The course will teach you how to:
• Get comfortable with the mouse and keyboard
• Use the computers at the library
• Use the Internet
• Open up an email Account
• Open up and save a Microsoft Word Document

Time: Friday 9:30 am – 10:30 am
Location: 3rd floor, Computer Lab

II. Resume and Job Search Help (one session, Friday, 10:30 am -11:30 am)
If you need help creating a resume or emailing your resume, searching for a job or filling out an online job application, this course is for you. You can make half hour appointments at 10:30 or 11:00. It is required that you take the Computer Basics course first if you are not comfortable with using a computer. The course will teach you how to:
• Use Job and Career Accelerator
• Search for jobs
• Create your resume and cover letter
• Tips for interview

Time: Friday 10:30 am – 11:30 am

Location: 3rd floor, Computer Lab

Call 508-799-1655 x3 or email wplref@worcpublib.org for more information