Our budget is so tight that we have to weigh every purchase decision very carefully and it’s always agonizing. Just because an item is well reviewed or we feel it will fill a niche doesn’t always mean that our customers will use it or that it lives up to its hype. Fortunately, I have made one purchase recently that I’m really grateful for. Actually, it’s two items but they came bundled together: the Testing and Education Resource Center and Legal Forms Online. What are these wondrous things? Why, online databases, of course! One of which is loaded with practice tests for nearly every exam our patrons want to take as well as college and financial aid information and the other a very comprehensive listing of Indiana legal forms. These two databases join our stable of online resources that include HeritageQuest for genealogy research, Reference USA for business information and NoveList for fiction.
Why am I so excited about these two new ones? First, for years the County Clerk’s office has been sending people to the library for their legal needs and while we sincerely appreciate their vote of confidence, we a) don’t have lawyers on our staff and b) contrary to popular belief we don’t have a magic book of Indiana Legal forms lying around. Until now, that is. I have found more forms on this database than I ever dreamed of: emancipation of minors; name change forms; power of attorney, mechanic’s liens and living wills. The best part? The forms are downloadable in Microsoft Word format so that patrons can modify them to suit their needs. Better still, all you need is a library card and a computer and if you don’t happen to have a computer, we happen to have several that you can use.
Probably the only thing that is requested more often than legal forms are materials to study for the GED and ASVAB. We simply can’t keep enough books on the shelves for these two tests and are constantly re-ordering them. For that reason, I subscribed to the Testing and Education Resource Center because one of its features is a section of over fifty practice tests like the GED, SAT, NCLEX and law enforcement exams. What really blew me away, however, was when I found that there is far, far more to this database than those practice tests. You can download e-books to help you study. You can research colleges, careers, financial aid and scholarships. You can do side by side comparisons of tuition and expected financial aid. This database is such an invaluable tool for students and their families that I just want to shout about it from the rooftops. Again, this database is free for anyone with a library card and library cards are free for residents of Morgan County.
To access either of these databases, go to our home page, morg.lib.in.us and look under the “What’s New at Your Library” section for the database you want. Granted, you may not think they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread, but they make my work day so much easier, and they offer incredible convenience to people who can’t make it in to the library. Happy information gathering!
1 comment March 12th, 2008