Check It Out: Tips to Start the School Year Right

It's that time of the year, once again, to get off the beach and back into the classroom. Getting settled into the school year routine means having to get used to late-night studying, homework assignments and making grades. So, before you are assigned that first big project of the year, make sure to get familiar with the resources available to you from the Newport Beach Public Library.

Not only can you find an excellent collection of books available at the library, but by also visiting the library's website you can get the information you need right at your fingertips. Visit to find a collection of electronic databases available for your research needs.

The following electronic resources can be accessed from the comfort of your own home for free, just be sure to have your library card handy.

Need some factual information about any topic? "The World Book Encyclopedia" is the place to go. The 20-plus volume set of encyclopedias that you would find in the reference collection at the library is also available online. Search any topic, find relevant information to write a report, and print out articles from home to take to school. Librarian Tip No. 1: There is a citation at the end of each article available for you to use in your works cited page, and it's already in MLA format. Nice, huh?

Another invaluable research tool is Proquest Magazine & Newspapers. This database is a quick and simple search that will give you access to a huge collection of magazine and newspaper articles. Need current information on a topic? Proquest is sure to have it. Need to do research on an event in the past? Proquest will surely have that, too. Librarian Tip No. 2: When doing a search in Proquest, be sure to click the check box for full text articles. This will help narrow down your results to the most relevant and useful information.

Need to prepare for a debate on a topic, or write a report where you take a strong stance on an important social issue? The Opposing Viewpoints database outlines important issues and gives arguments for each side. This invaluable resource is a great tool when looking for up- to-date information on topics like global warming, human rights, and stem cell research. Librarian Tip No. 3: Can't decide on a topic for a research paper? Browse this database to get ideas and brainstorm your viewpoint.

When reading literature in your English classes, you can be sure that you will have to delve deeper into the underlying themes, and analyze text. Use the Literature Resource database to read scholarly articles, literary criticism and more. Librarian Tip No. 4: After a search on your topic, be sure to explore all the tabbed results. You will find many primary and multimedia sources.

Other resources such as Biography Resource Center, CultureGrams and Ancient History & Culture will also provide invaluable articles on a large number of topics.

Librarian Tip No. 5 (the most important tip of all): Take a look at these databases and use them. Visit click on Articles & Databases and explore. Your teachers will thank you, your effort will be reflected in your grades, and you'll get research ready for college.

And as always, if you need help from an expert researcher, be sure to call one of the librarians for advice. We are happy to help you navigate the available databases, utilize the appropriate resources and find accurate information for your academic success. Happy 2010-11 school year!

CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public Library. All titles may be reserved from home or office computers by accessing the catalog at For more information on the Central Library or any of the branches, contact the Newport Beach Public Library at (949) 717-3800, option 2.

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