All questions can be answered by Google, right? That’s what we modern people have been trained to think. The search engine is often my first stop when pondering all sorts of questions: Which side is the appendix on? Who was Thelonious Monk? How do I write a cover letter? Google and other search engines can give you the answers to many questions, but they can also lead to more questions. Even worse: they can tantalize you with tidbits of information, only to restrict your access to said information. How many times have you stumbled upon the article you spent hours tracking down and come across some variation of “content for subscribers only?”
This is why databases are so crucial for researchers. Before we go any further, let’s clear up one thing: You are a researcher! Yes, you in the t-shirt and jeans, casually reading this blog while drinking coffee and procrastinating (don’t worry, I won’t tell on you). If you have a curiosity about something—anything—and attempt to get to the bottom of it, then you, my friend, are a researcher. And you deserve to find the answers to your questions.
Databases are important tools because they organize vast quantities and varieties of information to make them easily accessible. The Levittown Public Library has a treasure trove of databases. I have to confess that when one of my librarian friends here at the LPL suggested that I write about this topic, I wasn’t quite sure how to proceed. To be honest, I had a hard time imagining how to make a blog post about informational databases sound exciting. However, when I started looking a little deeper at what we have to offer, I was amazed at the variety. We have over 100 databases available to LPL patrons. They are organized into 16 convenient subjects, such as: Art, Music, & Antiques; Genealogy; Health & Nutrition; Legal; Literature & Criticism; Magazines, Journals & Newspapers, and more. We even have Zinio, a digital platform that allows users to create an account and “check out” popular magazines online. You have a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips with just the swift entry of your library card number.
Encyclopedias, family trees, scholarly journals, old newspapers, and much more are all available through the Levittown Public Library. It’s amazing what you can learn. Write a resume with the help of JobNow!; get one-on-one assistance online via Tutor.com; take advantage of Testing and Education Resource Center to find scholarship opportunities; hop on Antiques Reference to see if there’s any value in that glass vase you picked up at a yard sale.
You don’t have to be a formal student or a professional to have questions that need answers. We welcome curiosity! The next time your mind is working in overdrive and you have a question that needs answering, skip Google and take a chance on one of our databases. You might be surprised at what you can learn with a library card and a computer screen.