Online database is loaded with resources

Tracking down books for homework assignments can be frustrating. All of the library books on minerals have already been scooped up by classmates! My report is due tomorrow and I can’t find a book about food culture in Libya! There simply are no books published on the flight patterns of the South African great-winged petrel! If any of these scenarios sound familiar then read on.

One of the West Linn library’s best resources for homework help can be accessed from your home computer with your library card. The library subscribes to a variety of databases that are appropriate for homework assignments for all ages. I will focus on a few databases that are geared for elementary- and middle school-age students and their parents.

WorldBook Online for Kids offers a fun and colorful interface that makes it easy for young children to find age-appropriate materials on a variety of subjects. This online encyclopedia goes beyond traditional one-page entries on a subject and offers newspaper and magazine articles, pictures and maps. Each article also offers information on the author and citation examples. This resource is a good choice for biography assignments and science fair projects.

Culturegrams for Kids is my personal favorite. Culturegrams allows students to explore world geography and find specific information on countries around the world. An interactive map takes you on a tour of countries where you can view detailed information about cultures, histories, governments, cuisines, languages and so much more. Most country profiles include color photos that can be printed, recipes, maps and often an audio file of the country’s anthem. Culturegrams is a good choice for geography and culture assignments.

Kids Infobits is designed to be appropriate for very young students, kindergarten through second grade, but also older students in third through fifth grade. A little colored triangle or circle next to each article will help guide kids and adults to materials best suited to their needs. Like WorldBook Online, Kids Infobits covers a huge range of topics and offers maps, images and newspaper and magazine articles. Colorful graphics and clear subject arrangement make Kids Infobits accessible to the youngest researchers. It is a good choice for early elementary school assignments where deep exploration into a subject is not necessary.

Discovering Collection is aimed at elementary school through high school students, but is most appropriate for the older set. This database covers current events and hot button discussion topics in addition to subjects such as literature, culture and history. Discovering Collection also has a selection of multimedia resources on various topics, which might be helpful for oral presentations in a middle school or high school setting. Discovering Collection is a good choice for assignments on current events and issues, more in-depth reports on science or culture, and if a primary source document is a requirement of the assignment.

To access these and the rest of our online resources, go to and click the “Online Resources” tab.

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