Empower Your College and Career Planning with the Testing & Education Reference Center

A Black man and a woman wearing a headscarf sit in front of a computer, discussing what they see on the screen. Text reads: You're up to the test.

By Kim M.

Taking standardized tests, choosing the right college, and planning for a career can be stressful and overwhelming, especially when so much is uncertain. You can control your preparation and research, though, ensuring the best possible outcome. Preparing thoroughly helps to eliminate anxiety and build confidence in your test performance and decision making. Testing & Education Reference Center from Gale is an incredible online tool that’s rich in content, offering standardized test and entrance exam preparation, in-depth undergraduate and graduate program research, tuition and scholarship assistance, and valuable career information. It helps everyone from students to seasoned professionals embark on new paths. 

Testing & Education Reference Center provides the information, tools, and materials needed to achieve all your career and education goals, including: 

  • Intuitive School Searching 
    Easily search for private secondary schoolsvocational/technical schools, boarding schools, military schools, special needs schools, or accredited colleges and universities to find the perfect fit. Quick results deliver information on school location, tuition, academics, admission requirements, campus life, among other aspects.  
  • College Funding Tools 
    Financial aid tools, such as the Undergraduate Scholarship Search, Financial Aid Award Analyzer, College Savings Calculator, and Tuition Cost Finder provide data to help you plan, budget, and identify resources. 
  • Career Development  
    Access rich career development tools including a Career Assessment, the Resume Builder, and the Virtual Careers Library to help in every part of the career planning process. Map your career interests and aptitudes to job categories and industries that fit your personality. Delve into a list of occupations suited to your interests and learn about the skills involved, salaries, and more. 

    Get job search guidance, as well as resume, interviewing and networking advice for your career stage, whether you’re just starting out, looking to change careers, or transitioning from the military. 

    Prepare and study for professional certification exams, such as accounting, cosmetology, firefighter, postal worker, real estate, and more.

Testing & Education Reference Center is available for free courtesy of Howard County Library System. Watch this quick video to get an overview of how it works, and then click here to log in with your library card number and PIN. Please note that you must create an account with your email address and a password, which is necessary to save resumes, career assessment scores, and practice test progress. 

No matter your academic or professional goals, Testing & Education Reference Center can help you reach them, and HCLS is cheering you on every step of the way!

Kim M. works in the Materials Management Department at the Administrative Branch. She’s currently reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and watching The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix.

Longest Table Tips for ‘Impossible Conversations’

Screen shot from a Zoom meeting, with Daryl Davis gesturing toward the screen.
The Longest Table 2020

By Katie DiSalvo-Thronson

Are you heading into some holiday conversations you already dread? Or wishing you could talk to someone about a position they hold that you deeply disagree with, but feel unsure how to do it? 

When you think about someone who voted differently than you in the last election, are you wondering, “can I even talk to them?”

Last month, Howard County Library System held The Longest (Virtual) Table with Daryl Davis, an exceptional man with a lot to say about having hard conversations. Davis is an internationally celebrated blues musician who has also led more than 200 KKK members to leave the organization through personal relationships and dialogue. He is motivated, as a Black man, by the question: “How can you hate me if you don’t even know me?”

Davis is the author of Klan-destine Relationships, the topic of a movie Accidental Courtesy, and an excellent podcast interviewee (see “The Silver Dollar Lounge” from 2014 and “How to Argue” from 2017).

At the Longest Table, Davis shared parts of his amazing story, reflections on recent events, and ideas on how to talk someone out of hate. His experiences can help us see that people – even those holding extremely problematic positions – are capable of change. His ideas can help us connect with people whose beliefs feel impossibly different than our own.

So what does Daryl Davis suggest? Here are some of his top points, paraphrased:

  • Remember we all want the same five things.
    People want to be loved, to be respected, to be heard, to be treated fairly, and they want the same things for their families that you want for yours.
  • Give respect and get respect.
    Ask questions. Listen. “While you are actively seeking information from someone else, you are passively teaching them about yourself at the same time.” On social media, find a positive way to respond. The way you listen and respond will help people listen and respond to you.
  • Plant seeds as you engage in a long game.
    Give someone something to think about that troubles their world view. Then, engage again: “You must come back and water the seed – that’s the key.”
  • Lower their walls and keep them down.
    If you listen respectfully first, they will feel the need to listen to you next. “Defend yourself but don’t attack them,” and “keep your emotions in check.”

Davis’s approach demands intensive time and skill as well as self-control, and it may not be one we can all use all the time. His focus is not everyone’s: some people think it is more important to change policies and systems than to convert individual racists. However, we can all honor and appreciate that he has dedicated decades of his life to “putting a dent in racism,” along with his courage and selflessness in following this path. 

Like good music, Davis’ messages resonate well and widely. How could your ‘impossible conversations’ change by remembering shared humanity, showing respect, and teaching others with the example of how you live? Watch/listen to Daryl Davis in his own words today!

Katie is the Community Education and Engagement Manager for HCLS. She loves people, the big questions, the woods, and chocolate.

How to Talk to Kids About Voting

by Emily T.

The first (and only) song I’ve ever heard to rhyme both Trump and Clinton into the same chorus was sung to me during the 2016 election – by a five-year-old in my son’s Kindergarten class. 

In 2020, election talk is even more ubiquitous. Grownups aren’t the only ones figuring out voting. Many children are hearing about the election and wondering what it all means. Some may be asking their questions, while others may be unsure where to start. It’s never too early to welcome young ones into the voting process and help them understand how important it is. We may be shocked to find what they’ve heard already – and what critical gaps likely are in their understanding. 

Children can understand the value of having a say, and we all know they put a lot of stock in fairness. Such basics of democracy are very accessible. Even preschoolers can use a simple form of voting to make a group decision. Pizza or sushi for dinner? Ride scooters to the park or walk? We grownups can give our little future voters lots of practice with making a choice, counting up votes, and making peace with the outcomes. Of course, the story of American democracy doesn’t end with the idea of one person, one vote, but it is a great way to start talking about it. Reading books about voting can further spark children’s interest and open up fun, informative, invaluable conversations. Encourage your kids to ask questions, then find answers together.  

The President of the Jungle by André Rodrigues, et al. is a playful introduction to voting as a fair way to decide things as a group. In the story, the animals are not too happy with Lion, King of the Jungle, and they want a change. Key election concepts are explained with clever illustrations and a glossary. It’s great for big-picture questions about what’s fair and what makes a good leader. Bonus, it’s also great for character voices if you like that kind of outlet. 

Vote for Our Future!, by Margaret McNamara shows the many ways kids can get involved during election season, even before they are voting on their own. The story follows an elementary class learning and doing all they can about voting as their school becomes a polling place. Vibrant drawing of people in action let kids make observations and ask logistical questions. 

Voting is an important way that families act on their values and help determine what it’s like to grow up in this country. Children of all ages are paying attention. Will they see just how valuable each vote is?  

For additional books, DVDs, and eResources about voting for children and adults, check out the collection curated by our HCLS team here

Be sure to visit our HCLS Voter Smarts Guide 2020 for this year’s essential election information. 

Recommended Articles, Videos, & Games about Voting for Families HCLS “Let’s Vote!” On-Demand Class (K-Grade 2) & “Let’s Vote!” On-Demand Class (Grades 3-5)

Daniel Tiger: Stop, Think and Choose 

PBSKids: Let’s Vote

Common Sense Media: 17 Tips to Steer Kids Through the Political Season 

iCivics: Cast Your Vote 

Ben’s Guide to the US Government 

Emily is a Children’s Instructor & Research Specialist at HCLS Elkridge Branch.. Her family voted on how to celebrate their ballot drop-off this year. “I Voted” S’mores won in a landslide over the “I Vote” Rootbeer Float, and “I Voted” stickers.  

HCLS Pregnancy and Infant Loss Resources

by Kimberly J

Black and white image of a tiny baby foot - which measures only as big as the top joint of a fingertip- is shown surrounded by an adult hand.
Photo by Kimberly J – shared in memory of Todd & George

In 2013, I was pregnant twice. Both of these pregnancies ended in stillbirth. The next few months were a bit of a blur. I felt alone, isolated, shameful, and guilty about my body’s failures. Medical terminology surrounding pregnancy loss did little to dispel these feelings. Words like miscarriage, incompetent cervix, and inhospitable uterus felt like they, too, were laying the blame at the mothers’ feet. One day, a book arrived in the mail from a dear friend which made me feel less alone. I found it helpful to hear others’ stories and experiences that mirrored my own. That book was the catalyst for my grieving process and healing. If you are struggling, I hope that one of these books or DVDs might bring the same sense of catharsis and comfort to you. If someone you know has recently experienced a similar loss, I hope these resources will help you relate to them and know how to help.

Don't Talk About the Baby DVD cover shown. Hand holds a dandelion, which has seeds blowing in the wind. Under are the words "Shatter the Stigma"

Don’t Talk About the Baby is a documentary film presenting first person accounts of infertility, miscarriage, and stillbirth. It addresses the cultural stigma of silence around these losses. The film includes interviews from mothers and fathers from around the US. It seeks to normalize the grieving process – and addresses how this grief is often invisible to outsiders, because to them the baby wasn’t visible. Additional insight is provided by a bereavement doula and other doctors. Content Warnings: Contains photos of deceased children. Couples talk about subsequent pregnancies and live births. Features discussion during a religious/Christian support group. Don’t Talk About the Baby is available on DVD from HCLS.

The Brink of Being: Talking About Miscarriage: Bueno, Julia book cover shown over sunset image in pink, purple, and blue.

The Brink of Being: Talking About Miscarriage was written by a therapist who specializes in working with women who have experienced pregnancy loss and infertility. She also shares her own experiences with miscarrying 22-week twins. This book is laid out in a “chronological” retelling of losses – starting at the first weeks, and progressing throughout the stages at which miscarriage losses can occur. A chapter towards the end also speaks about memorials and remembrances. Stories are told in intimate and graphic detail. This book includes chapters on early, late, and recurrent miscarriage. It also offers insights into the perspectives of partners, fathers, family members, and loved ones. Content Warnings: Stories of subsequent pregnancies and living births are integrated into the narrative. Graphic descriptions, including the at-home birth of a embryonic baby. Definitions are given in terms recognized in the UK – miscarriage there is defined through 24 weeks, while in the US, babies born as soon as 20 weeks are termed stillborn.

About What Was Lost: Jessica Berger Gross, editor. White vase is filled with ivory dandelions.

About What Was Lost is a compilation from 20 different writers who share their own stories of loss. This anthology offers a catharsis with honest (sometimes painful) re-tellings of private grief. Authors share their personal experiences and feelings about abortion, miscarriage, twin loss, and premature infant death. Each story and experience is unique to the author and reflects many perspectives on pregnancy and infant loss. Content Warnings: Subsequent pregnancies and live births are discussed. Abortion loss is covered in multiple accounts.

High Risk: Stories of Pregnancy, Birth, and the Unexpected: Karkowsky MD, medical scrubs and gloves in the background of the text.

High Risk is written by a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist (MFM) also known as a high-risk OB/GYN. She seeks to fill the void of information about what might happen. Told from a medical point-of-view, this book seeks to answer the call, “I wish someone had told me.” This book concisely details some of the most common diagnoses that bring patients to a MFM. It offers information on the processes, medical terminology, and decision making during pregnancy complications. In the chapter on stillbirth, the most common causes are discussed and dissected. The author also addresses some of the reasons behind the medical avoidance on the subject of stillbirth. This book presents a history of medical knowledge/treatments around pregnancy complications and the current standards (or lack thereof) of care when loss occurs. While it tells stories of real patients, it is from a detached medical perspective.

Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos: Knisley, Lucy, Knisley, Illustrated image of a pregnant mother with baby inside her belly

Kid Gloves by Lucy Knisley is a graphic novel available in both paperback and as an ebook via Overdrive. It portrays the author’s struggle with early miscarriage and the depression that followed her losses. These feelings of isolation and sadness are compounded by shame, guilt, and loathing of her own body. She recounts advice that eventually led her to healing… to treat herself with “kid gloves.” Lucy later receives a medical reason for her miscarriages, and goes on to recount her experiences through a pregnancy (with complications) and the eventual birth of a living child. She addreses the history of birthing practices and the notion of “natural” childbirth with humor and accuracy. Content Warnings: more than half of the book recounts the author’s successive pregnancy and battle with pre-eclampsia.

Return to Zero movie cover. Family of 3 is shown next to water, with mother and father looking into distance with a sailboat in the background.

Return to Zero is a fictional film portraying stillbirth loss. It is based on the true story of writer/director/producer Sean Hanish and his wife. This movie shows how stillbirth shatters the lives of a successful and prosperous couple. The shock and disbelief Minnie Driver portrays when confronted with the semantics surrounding her upcoming birth echoed my own experiences with stillbirth. You never think that you’ll be asked about funerals and autopsies on the day you’re going to give birth. The movie goes on to depict the daily struggles of both parents as they navigate holidays, baby showers, and well-meaning outsiders. They are helped through a successive pregnancy by a doctor who has also experienced loss. Reception to the movie has led to the founding of RTZ: Hope which aims to shine a light on pregnancy loss and stillbirth. Content Warnings: Photos of deceased children are shown. Stillbirth labor and delivery are depicted. Subsequent live birth is portrayed. Return to Zero is available from HCLS on DVD.

Three Minus One: Stories of Parents' Love and Loss by Jessica Watson, Sean Hanish, Brooke Warner. Sunset image of a butterfly drawn in the sand with the beach surf at its edges.

Three Minus One is an ebook available on Hoopla from HCLS. Inspired by the Return to Zero film, it is a compilation of over 80 individual essays, poems, and pictures submitted by mothers, fathers, relatives, and friends. Most of these stories focus on stillbirth and infant death, with several perspectives from families whose doctors declared their babies “incompatible with life” before they were born. Other topics include the loss of a toddler, the elective abortion of a Trisomy 21 baby, and miscarriage. This collection is a journey through their grief and pain, but mostly focused on the love these parents have for their children. Many explore what it means to move forward, for this after is nothing like what came before. Content Warnings: Photos of deceased children are shown. Several narratives include subsequent living children.

Three book covers shown: Healing Your Grieving Heart After Miscarriage, Healing Your Grieving Heart After Stillbirth and Healing a Parent's Grieving Heart.

Healing Your Grieving Heart is a series of books available for Howard County Library patrons via Hoopla. They are written by Dr. Alan Wolfelt, a grief educator who offers practical ideas and concrete action-oriented tips to aid in the mourning process. Each title in the series addresses the unique concerns for each situation – from confronting what you did or did not see during the miscarriage process to taking & displaying pictures of a stillborn baby. The author offers practical, bullet-pointed ideas on how to practice self compassion while grieving. His tips are based on advice solicited from families who have experienced these losses. I found it helpful in a concrete way, when so much about the grieving process feels murky and disorienting. The author offers 100 ideas in each book. If some don’t feel right to you, his advice is just to skip it and move on. Self care is central to his philosophies, but moving from the emotion of grief to the action of mourning takes work and reflection. There are many titles available, but these three are most relevant to my post today:
Healing Your Grieving Heart After Miscarriage
Healing Your Grieving Heart After Stillbirth
Healing a Parent’s Grieving Heart

The content provided is for informational purposes only; it is not intended to be used instead of professional medical opinion or advice. All information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.

Kimberly J is a DIY Instructor and Research Specialist at the HCLS Elkridge Branch. She is the mother to two living sons and two stillborn sons.

Libby Lends to Listeners! More eAudiobooks available via RBdigital

Deep red background sets off text in white for an ad for Libby app by OverDrive, which features a tablet and a phone displaying various book covers.

by Kim M.

Do you listen to eAudiobooks via RBdigital? Do you know Libby? If not, it’s definitely time to download the app to your phone and/or eReader! It’s the easy access point for eBooks and eAudiobooks, and it just got better.

All of the RBdigital eAudiobooks are available via the Libby app (as of 9/24/20) and the OverDrive website since OverDrive, North America’s largest provider of public library eBooks, has acquired RBdigital. The RBdigital mobile app will eventually be retired, but the good news is that you will continue to be able to browse, borrow, and enjoy all the same great eAudiobook titles.

For now, this change only affects RBdigital eAudiobooks and classic literature in eBook format. Digital magazines remain available via RBdigital. As OverDrive works on integrating RBdigital eMagazines, you can continue to access eMagazines in the RBdigital app. 

If you are a current RBdigital user, these frequently asked questions may help explain the move:

Why are RBdigital audiobooks moving to OverDrive?
OverDrive has acquired RBdigital, and is working to integrate the two services. You will be able to access all titles through the OverDrive website, the classic OverDrive app, and the Libby app. When this transfer is complete, audiobooks will no longer be available on the RBdigital platform and app.

What happens if I have a title(s) currently checked out on RBdigital?
Current checkouts will be available through the remainder of their lending period in the RBdigital app. Your current checkouts will not be moved to OverDrive. This will allow you to finish your title without disruption or risk of losing your place in the audiobook. 

What happens to my checkout history and wish lists from RBdigital?
Checkout history and wish lists will not be moved to OverDrive. You can export your Transaction History from the RBdigital website on a desktop computer:  

  • After logging into the RBdigital website, open the menu in the top left of the screen and select “My Account.”  
  • Then click “Profiles” and underneath your personal information, you will see the option to “Export My Transaction History.” 
  • Clicking this button will automatically download a CSV file to your computer with your information.

New to eBooks and eAudiobooks?
Howard County Library System is proud to offer a wide selection of digital titles for you to access through Libby, the one-tap reading app powered by OverDrive. For those who have not yet tried the Libby app, all you need to get started is your library card number. Download the free Libby app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. The Libby app is easy to use and will guide you through the setup process and get you connected to our library in just a few minutes. You can find in-app support, or watch this brief video tutorial to get started.

Happy reading!

Kim M. works in the Materials Management Department at the Administrative Branch. When not keeping up-to-date on library technology, she is volunteering to get out the vote.

Voting Matters

by Emily T.

Election Day is fast approaching! 

Are you one of the 46,120 Howard County voters who have already requested their mail-in ballot?1 Because of the pandemic, all Marylanders have more options for how to vote to make the process safer and easier, but election deadlines are hard and fast. So, choose your path early and make sure you have time for the plan that’s best for you.

To help you plan, we’re introducing our new online HCLS Voter Smarts Guide 2020. It’s a comprehensive, nonpartisan collection of resources tailored to our Howard County community.

Use our guide to take the first critical step – make sure you are registered to vote by October 13.

Next comes the Choose Your Own Adventure part. To vote, you have several options:  

1) Mail in a mail-in ballot.

2) Drop off a mail-in ballot at a county drop box,

3) Vote early in person at any Early Voting Center in your county.

4) Vote in person on Election Day at any Voting Center in your county.

Due to the pandemic, all Maryland voters are encouraged to use mail-in ballots, but they WILL NOT be sent out automatically. Go to our guide (linked above) to request your mail-in ballot by the October 20 deadline. Then, return your signed ballot ASAP, no need to wait for election day. 

If, on the other (sanitized) hand, you choose to vote at an in-person Voting Center, check out our COVID-19 section for the CDC Recommendations for voters. We also have Voting Tips & Accessibility information with FAQ for before, during, and after you vote.  

Beyond logistics, maybe you’re looking for reliable information about all the issues at stake this election. Fortunately, the HCLS Voter Smarts Guide 2020 also connects you to trustworthy fact-checking websites and Informed Voter Resources & Guides with nonpartisan, well researched databases that lay out candidates’ positions and the pros/cons of any issue. 

Some things have to be different for the 2020 election. But one thing is downright fundamental as always – your vote matters. So, get out there – or stay in – and vote! 

Emily is a Children’s Instructor & Research Specialist at HCLS Elkridge Branch. She’ll be making “I Voted” s’mores with her kids to celebrate dropping off her mail-in ballot. 

Tackling National History Day

NHD initials above two red bars, interspaced with National History Day text

By Deborah B.

It’s not cheating! 

September is around the bend, bringing refrigerators adorned with leaf collages, stink bugs, and virtual football parties with snacks of imaginary calories. It also catapults middle and high school students into the vast expanse that is the National History Day Project, a year-long exploration of an historical topic where students analyze the topic’s immediate and long term impact and its connection to the annual theme, then create a structured presentation model showcasing their extensive research and conclusions in a national competition for grades, glory, and potential monetary awards. Piece of cake.

Parents, do not hit the liquor cabinet! We are here to help! Seriously, it is not cheating for students to get research and analysis assistance. Teachers and parents are frequently tapped, but there is a local, free, natural habitat for history and research nerds eager to help search for buried sources… Howard County Library System.

This year’s theme is Communication in History: The Key to Understanding. How do people exchange information and interact with each other? Think of the act of communicating, the motivation for the communication, the who or what the communication affects. Think of how we struggle with conveying meaning today, even without Zoom calls.

Our virtual classes such as Topic Development and Maximize Your History Day Research offer insights into these questions and others relating to the theme. In October, the NHD Thesis Workshop is a safe mosh pit for students to deconstruct, reconstruct, and beat the heck out of their arguments until they are honed enough to substitute as historical reenactment weapons. Well, maybe not that sharp. Our classes, databases, and collection resources are also not cheats. National History Day encourages students to create a reliquary of history-hunting tools.

Also, these classes are not exclusive to NHD students! We welcome parents and teachers and all teens interested in upgrading their critical thinking skills. In addition, we will host a complement of news literacy performance training. Beware aged opinions. Ideas and thinking can stagnate, even ideas originally based on empirical evidence. Have there been new discoveries? Is there new data? Healthy, critical thinking requires stimuli and exercise, and we coach students through bias obstacles and teach strategies to combat fallacies and fear of opposing viewpoints.

In the next few weeks, somewhere in the county, a child will be assigned a NHD project. There is hope! Our mission, aside from mixing as many metaphors as possible in this blog post, is to help students achieve their academic potential. A small donation of the student’s time rewards them with research guidance and alleviates a librarian suffering from an overabundance of historical minutia. So, go online or call to register for one of our fall NHD classes as soon as they open.

Remember, it’s not cheating.

Deborah B. is a triple threat nerd of books, history, and actual triplets. 

Bypass the News Paywall Using Your Library Card

Stack of folded newspapers sits in right hand

By JP Landolt

The next time you’re trying to read a news article online and hit a paywall, consider finding your library card instead of your credit card. HCLS eNewspapers offers current and past issues of national and local newspapers, as well as historical newspaper archives and news from around the world! 

The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times use paywalls and limited article views; with our eNewspapers you can enjoy all the articles at any time. All you need is your library card (barcode) and your PIN. If you ever find yourself without your barcode or PIN, please contact any of our branches or use our AskHCLS chat service for assistance. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the distribution of local print newspapers. These physical publications are not presently available in our branches. However, you still have digital access to local news. The Howard County Times and Laurel Leader are among the 45 local newspapers listed in the Maryland Digital News Bank

Paywall-free access to news is essential in this time when we’re looking for credible and balanced perspectives. Our eNewspapers provide this access as well as the unique opportunity to explore news from around the world and news of the past. 

I use ProQuest Global Newstream to read my homeland’s newspaper, Pacific Daily News (Guam), and I use PressReader to browse publications from around the world. PressReader offers thousands of newspapers and magazines in various languages and can be easily translated from one language to another. My late father would have truly appreciated this resource as it would have given him the chance to read Filipino publications in his native language.

Historical Newspaper Archives is an invaluable resource for newsophiles and lifelong learners alike. You can survey American national and local newspapers from the 1800’s, pore over first-hand accounts during the Civil War, and delve into our nation’s formative years. 

I’d like to highlight the acclaimed Baltimore Afro-American Archives which touts nearly a century’s worth of weekly papers (1893-1988). This newsletter-turned-newspaper holds a seminal role in American societal change by challenging Jim Crow laws and public school segregation in the Atlantic region. I invite you to read through these papers and experience American history being made. 

Whether “old” or current, news is exciting! You can improve your news consumption with your library card. When you use eNewspapers, you’ll never have to worry about news paywalls again!

JP has worked for HCLS since 2006. She loves learning new things and playing disc golf, albeit as a novice.

My Teen is Bored! – Part 2

A frazzled parent’s guide to keeping your teen learning with the most powerful card in their wallet – their library card!

Quadrotor Flight Controller

By Lori C.

My last post explored the many fun and engaging ways to expand on your teen’s interests and hobbies with our online eResources. Let’s explore how your high school student can supplement their learning goals and expand their academic success with more eResources from HCLS.   

Test Prep:  While we don’t know if the current situation will change the testing landscape, it can’t hurt to keep practicing for the SAT and/or ACT tests as well as for high school AP tests. HCLS offers many resources for teens to keep their testing skills sharp and to supplement their learning: 

LearningExpress Library: Practice tests for AP exams, the GED, the SAT, grad school entrance exams, and various jobs. Also find tutorials for grades 4 – 12 on math, reading, and writing skills.  

Testing & Education Reference Center: Practice tests for entering private high school, the AP exams, the GED, the SAT, grad school entrance exams, various career tests, and the U.S. citizenship test. Also includes a scholarship and college search tool. 

Lynda.com: Search for Test Prep: PSAT, ACT or SAT for courses on test-taking skills and best practices for maximizing your standardized test score. 

Gale Courses: If your teen needs a more structured course to follow, try the six-week SAT/ACT Test Prep courses with rolling start dates throughout the next several months.  

Language Learning: Learn a new language or supplement classroom instruction with these three language learning tools: 

Mango: Teens and adults can engage in fun conversational online lessons in more than 70 languages.  

Pronunciator: Take your language skills to the next level. Learn 80 languages in any of 50 languages – for example, a native French speaker can learn Chinese in French! Also includes ESL for 50 non-English languages plus a comprehensive citizenship prep course.  

Rosetta Stone Online: Engage in the proven language immersion method that more than 22,000 schools and 12,000 businesses have trusted for over the last 20+ years. Select from 30 languages structured around core lessons in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. A microphone is required for speaking lessons. 

These additional educational opportunities can boost your teen’s confidence when taking standardized tests and improve their overall academic outcomes. In addition, your teen can add these courses to their resumé and college application forms. Guidance counselors and admissions officers will be looking for teens who used their time stuck at home to continue learning and expanding their academic skills. Keeping your teen busy and occupied is as easy as using the library’s online eResources! 

Lori C. has worked at the Glenwood Branch for six years.  She loves to read and knit, and is excited about the return of baseball. 

My Teen is Bored!

A student seated in front of a curtain peeks over the monitor of her computer.

By Lori C.

The traditional summer job or internship probably didn’t appear as an option this year, so what’s a bored teen to do? And how’s a frazzled parent going to keep them occupied while social distancing? 

Now’s the time for your teen to fully utilize the most powerful card in their wallet – their library card! HCLS offers so many fun and engaging ways to expand on your teen’s interests and hobbies with our online eContent.    

Gale Courses: This resource offers more than 300 six-week structured online classes on topics ranging from business to hobbies. Is your teen a budding entrepreneur? Take a class on starting your own business. Maybe photography or writing are of interest to your high schooler. If so, there are classes for digital photography as well as creative writing and publishing.  Gale also offers 44 personal enrichment classes ranging from an introduction to journaling to starting your own edible garden. 

Lynda.com: Find more than 3,600 streaming video tutorials taught by experts on technical skills, creative techniques, and business strategies with your HCLS access to Lynda.com. From individual classes to entire learning paths, your teen can explore a wide range of skills and hobbies from 3D animation to becoming a digital illustrator.  

ArtistWorks: Learn an instrument, vocal techniques, or art skills from award-winning teachers with these free, self-paced online video classes. Classes include traditional instruments such as piano and guitar, as well as less common ones such as mandolin and ukulele. Entice your teen with Hip Hop scratching lessons or dabble in a music theory class. Better yet, dust off that old harmonica and have your teen learn some songs to enliven summer nights in the backyard.  

Opportunities to expand your teen’s horizons abound with HCLS’ eContent. Not only will they gain new skills and grow their repertoire of talents, but they also can use these courses to boost their resumé and college applications. Future employers and admissions officers will be looking for teens who used their summer stuck at home to discover a newfound passion or to deepen their knowledge in a current hobby.   

My next post discusses how your high schooler can supplement their educational goals using the power of their library card and the eContent offered by HCLS.  Look for it soon!

Lori C. has worked at the Glenwood Branch for six years.  She loves to read and knit and is excited for the return of baseball.