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Frank Ferry: Your library in the digital world

Live from City Hall

Posted: January 21, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 21, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

Every week, more than 14,000 people visit one of Santa Clarita’s three library branches to access the library’s many offerings. You may be surprised to learn that there are many who use the local libraries — 6,000 a week — without ever visiting them at all.

With the explosion of e-readers and the rapid acceleration of digital technologies, library services must also include the availability of electronic materials.

When the city of Santa Clarita assumed library operations in July 2011, we recognized the need to create a library that honored traditional forms of learning, but also reflected new ways for community members to consume information.

In just six months, the Santa Clarita Public Library has expanded its online offerings for local library cardholders to include e-books, audiobooks, music and more. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, residents can take advantage of a variety of free electronic services including:

Online homework help

Brainfuse is an online academic service designed to provide live, online tutoring and specialized resources from kindergarten to adult learners.

Brainfuse’s most interactive service, HelpNow, provides live tutoring sessions every Monday through Sunday between 1 and 10 p.m.

Subjects include math, science, Spanish, social studies, reading and writing. Students who need extra guidance can submit their requests to the 24/7 Homework Question Center or receive constructive feedback on their essays through the 24-Hour Writing Lab.

In addition to these resources, Brainfuse offers Flashbulb, a program that allows students to create digital flashcards, which are accessible on both computers and mobile devices. Brainfuse users can also interact in a virtual classroom called Meet, or record their notes for future reference using the study tool Brainwave.

Adult learners have access to testing support services and academic coaching in writing and skills building exercises. Brainfuse also offers employment services, including live resume and cover letter assistance from certified tutors.

Free music downloads

Freegal is a free downloadable music service that offers library cardholders access to the Sony Music Entertainment catalog, which includes hundreds of thousands of songs, more than 100 genres of music and more than 50 record labels. Every week, you are eligible to gain access to three new songs. All you need is your Santa Clarita Public Library Card number and PIN to use the service.

Employment services

If you’re looking for employment or a fresh start with a new career, the Santa Clarita Public Library offers a variety of resources to help. The library currently features two free online programs Career Transitions and Learning Xpress, which provide important information to assess and improve professional skill sets and prepare users for their next career step.

Career Transitions was designed with the job-seeker in mind and offers a range of resources and videos to help job seekers get back to work quickly. The program includes best practices for interviewing, resume and cover letter drafting.

The Learning Express is an online library designed to enhance the job-seeking experience. Through the Job Search & Workplace Skills Learning Center, job seekers can take e-courses and access e-books on work productivity, job success, networking and business writing, in addition to other subjects. Job seekers can also use a variety of practice tests to prepare for professional certification and licensing in fields ranging from civil service to firefighting.

Community members can access these and many other online library resources through the Santa Clarita Public Library website by using the barcode number found at the bottom of their card.

For more information on career resources available through the Santa Clarita Library, contact the City’s library hotline at (661) 286-4055 or visit SantaClaritaLibrary.com.

Frank Ferry is Santa Clarita’s mayor pro tem and can be reached at: fferry@santa-clarita.com.

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