When I was a kid, we had a well-worn set of encyclopedias in our den. Almost every night at dinner, someone would raise a question that precipitated a trip down that short hallway to find out things like, “Where did the largest earthquake happen?” or “When exactly was the War of 1812?”

My family has an insatiable need for the facts. To this day, a meal rarely goes by without someone whipping out their phone and double checking an answer (a task that usually falls to me, as a librarian). But I don’t want to spend loads of time sorting through the millions of Google responses. And that’s where the library comes in.

Of course, any time you’re dealing with information, the library is here to help. We have access to all the books in the Bettendorf Public Library and will help you find information on whatever subject you’re researching. But we also have access to titles in libraries across the country, and to online resources that are available to Bettendorf cardholders 24/7.

For my family’s dinner-time trivia questions, the library has access to WorldBook and Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia online. What a great resource for quick fact checking and introductions to a variety of topics! If you’re conducting research for a paper for school, encyclopedias are a great place to start for an overview. And, of course, if you’re debating what Iowa’s principal manufacturing activity is, an encyclopedia can settle the argument. (According to WorldBook Online, it’s food processing, if you’re curious.)

But sometimes we need still more information. So many issues these days are complex and multi-faceted. We’re looking for multiple explanations and various sides of an issue. The library has you covered for that, too. Databases like EBSCOhost, Opposing Viewpoints and Proquest Global Newstream give you access with your Bettendorf Library card to newspapers, magazines and other sources to help you discover all the information you need to construct informed opinions.

All of these resources (and many more!) are available at www.bettendorflibrary.com/read-research/do-research-online. Log in with your Bettendorf Library card, and the facts are at your fingertips.

And, in case you’re wondering, the largest earthquake occurred in Northern Mongolia in 1905, measuring 8.4 on the Richter scale. The War of 1812 was fought from 1812 to 1815, and ended inconclusively. I know that because I looked them up in the encyclopedia!

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