Category Archives: Databases

Learn a language @ your library

If you’re like me, you’ve always meant to learn another language.
Well, no excuses left; here’s an opportunity for free, high-quality and fun language instruction, accessible on your home computer, 24/7, or here at the library.

The Burlington Public Library has an online resource to use in learning and practicing foreign languages (including Ingles). Using research-driven techniques, the online learning program “Powerspeak” features a combination of scored online activities, exercises, lessons, and games, all of which contribute to an experience that closely aligns with the standards set forth by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. 

Give it a try!  And let us know how it works for you.

Click here to see more about language resources at the library.


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Attention Students, Parents, and Job Seekers!

If you or someone you know is getting ready for any kind of test to advance in school or their careers, this is for you.  There’s an amazing range of resources here, even for homeschoolers.

With your library card, you have 24/7 access to our online databases.  This one is called Learning Express, and it has online practice tests and new eBooks available by using the Learning Express Library.   There is an ever-expanding list of eBooks — almost 200 career guides and study aides, each designed to help people prepare for licensing, certification, and competitive entry-level exams, or to advance in school or in their careers.

New eBooks available include

  • “Pre-GED Language Arts, Writing”
  • “Geometry Success in 20 Minutes a Day, 3e”
  • “Write Your Way into College: College Admissions Essay”
  • “Public Speaking Success in 20 Minutes a Day”
  • “Homeschooling FAQs”
  • “Becoming a Culinary Arts Professional”
  • “PRAXIS II: ParaPro Test Prep (0755 &1755)”
  • “TOEIC Test Prep”

Click here for a list of the different Ebook titles available.

And try here for the practice tests and courses to try.

Test-taking and courses require a log-in (if you aren’t in the library) and one-time registration.  Be sure and save your username and password for future access and to track your progress!

Click here for help and as always, contact us for more info!


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Family History Hounds, listen up




“I’m no Internet hound, you know, I don’t have it at my house or anything.  But this is really neat!”   A  patron was pretty excited the other night.  He’d just been using our genealogy databases to research his family history.  “I do this every once in awhile,” he explained, “and it just seems like there’s new information every time.”  He’d been able to find photographs of the graves of his great-great-great grandparents, providing names and dates he hadn’t had before, leading to more and more information, back into the 1840’s.

This is just one example of the discoveries people make using our online databases.  You can use them 24/7, in your pajamas, thanks to your library card.  To see some of your other options–including foreign-language learning, test preparation, homework help, legal and medical help, and much more--click here to see an alphabetical listing and description of each database.  Or just ask when you’re here: we’re happy to give you a guided tour!

Who knows what you might discover?


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It’s Scholarship Season

Many of us know high school students gathering resources to try their wings in the larger world.  Our databases, available 24/7 from home computers, can help in a number of ways, and here’s one:

Try our new online resource, the Testing & Education Reference Center, for a Scholarship Search.

To find it, click here to go to our Grants, Scholarships and Non-Profit Management page, click on the icon for Testing & Education Reference Center (if you’re at home, you’ll need to enter your library barcode number), and create an account with a user name and password for future searching.  “Scholarship Search” is under the “College Prep Tools” tab.

One recent scholarship opportunity is the Floyd Louia Memorial Scholarship for B-ESD seniors who are pursuing a career in law enforcement (or for a child of a police officer).  Applications are due March 29th, 2012.  Details are on the webpage linked above.

Happy hunting, and good luck!


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Brush up your computer skills

Want to brush up your computer skills? We’re now offering drop-in computer training sessions.

Tuesdays 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Wednesdays 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Thursdays 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. & 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. 

Come in for guided training and practice sessions to learn basic computer skills including:

  • creating an email account,
  • navigating the Internet for basic searching and online commerce,
  • learning Microsoft Office programs,
  • searching the library catalog and online references,
  • using social networking sites,
  • managing ebooks & audiobooks.

The sessions are individually paced, and practice time is available on library computers or your own laptop. 

Contact us by email at or call 360-755-0760 if you have questions. Meanwhile, the links on our Learn to Use a Computer page will help you get started. 



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Finding business information @ your library

Among the many e-resources the library has is Reference USA, a directory of corporations and other business data for use by job seekers, businesses, and individuals.  Depending on your needs, you may find a simple phone directory or a marketing research tool.  It provides ad-free  information on brands, products, stocks, corporate structure, names of executives, and hiring managers.  Funding for this resource is provided by the Port of Skagit.  The resource is available from home, by logging in with your library card, or in the library at any time.  For more info, call the library at 360-755-0760, or email

A free one-hour webinar on the use of this resource is available.   

Title:  Search Essentials: the basics of ReferenceUSA

Day/Date: Offered Fridays (January 13 –  March 30)

Time:  11:00 AM Central

Lots of time will be reserved at the end of the session for questions.  Attendees need an internet connection and a phone line to participate. 

To register for any of the session dates, follow the link below:

ReferenceUSA Search Essentials


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Want to be your own boss?

Thinking about starting a new business, or wanting some new ideas for promoting your current business? Try our Small Business Reference Center for library card online access to books and articles on management, selling, brand names, trends, new technologies, market research, new promotion ideas, legal information and tips–and more. It also includes some useful, short videos. Here are just some of the topics that are covered on the website:

Business Basics  /  Coaching an Employee  /  Conducting Successful Meetings
Doing Business on eBay  /  Hiring the First Employees  /  Interviewing a Candidate
Marketing Your Business  /  Presenting to Customers  /  Reacting to a Changing Market
Running a Thriving Business  /  Selling a Business  /  Starting & Running a Nonprofit
Starting a Business  /  Starting a Business From Home  /  Small Business Start-Up Kit
Tax Deductions  /  Start-Up Kit & Business Plans  /   Writing a Business Plan
Sample Business Plans  Loan Request  /  Personal Financial Statement 
Profit & Loss Forecast  /  Sales Revenue Forecast
Starting a Business With Less Than $1,000 – For Retirees
Starting a Business With Less Than $1,000 – For Stay-at Home Moms & Dads
Starting a Business With Less Than $1,000 – For Students

For help, you can always ask at the info desk, or give us a call. 360-755-0760.



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Featured Database: SIRS Discoverer

If you don’t know about our online subscription databases , you a) haven’t been paying attention in class, and b) are losing out big time!  Here’s one example of the value you can find 24/7 from our website.

 This month’s featured database is the “SIRS Discoverer.”  It is an all-purpose database for K – 8  students, which means homework help you can trust, directly from your home computer.  Here’s a short video you can watch to see it demonstrated.  As you’ll see, the colorful interface and child-oriented search functions make homework fun.

 To show off more of our homework-help resources, we’ve created a Homework Page.  Take a look and spread the word!   Some of these require a password other than your library card number.  If you run into one of those, just give us a call and we’ll gladly give you the secret word.

And as always, see our list of databases available on your home computer: accurate, credible information you can’t get for free on the Internet.  Homework help is only one part of it; see what we have to meet your interests.
                            —insistently, Mary Beth



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Employment Scams

As you know, the library has many resources to help people find jobs, write resumes and application letters , start small businesses, and  research careers and companies to work for – all without a charge! 

We also come across good suggestions to avoid job scams or paying for phony” high paying job” lists.  See this video on job scams.  Job-hunting is tough enough without running into these scams, or frauds.

The Riley Guide also has a great page on many types of these illegal or misrepresented promises for work – see their article on “How to Tell Its’ a Scam! (and what to do)” – and the page called Job Scams!  with its own Poster

Meanwhile, ask us about our special computers for typing up and printing application letters or resumes, homework, or other documents.  You can use these up to three hours a day.  For a list of our online resources, see our page on Business, Career & Employment Resources.


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Homework Help Myths

We continue to hear about people who think they can’t use the public library because they have to pay non-resident fees.  We’d like to dispel that myth and assure parents, teachers and students that the resources are available even if they can’t afford a card to check out materials. 

There is no charge to use library materials in the library for studying or taking a test, for using our public or homework computers for writing, or for asking for homework help from our staff.  The public library is open Saturdays and 4 evenings a week, so they can use a library when the school library isn’t open.  We have many new resources—in traditional print format and online.

 The policies about library cards are listed on our website and you may want to know that library cards are available to staff of the Burlington-Edison School District No. 100, local private schools, child care centers and other educational facilities located in Burlington without charge!

 Here are some highlights of our online resources.  They can be used in the library, or, if you have a library card, you can access them 24/7 from the comfort of your home!

 BESD Curriculum, CBA book lists, and new materials are listed in the Online Catalog.

  • Advance your prospects with Learning Express database.  Here you can find practice tests and ebooks for GED, college entrance exams, license exams, civil service skill testing, job-hunting help, etc.
  • Find articles, or research subjects from popular and academic magazines with ProQuest, Expanded Academic Index, and General One file.
  • Researching a specific subject?  Different databases you can use are listed on Reference and Homework A – Z page – look for Opposing Viewpoints In Context, Biography In Context, History In Context, and the Literature Resource Center.
  • Interested in learning another language?   Powerspeak  is an online resource that uses a fun multimedia approach to teach you Spanish, French, ESL, German or Mandarin.
  • Help your younger children enjoy books online with Tumblebook Library.  Listen and watch stories read out loud; use ebooks and audiobooks; see children’s books in French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and Russian; and play games and puzzles to learn word, memory, and spelling skills.
  • Questions ? – Ask Us !



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