Wednesday, April 4, 2012

When is a book not a book?

When it's a virtual book!  The wealth of information you can get from the library while sitting at home has grown by volumes; dozens of volumes, that is! Just yesterday we added 20 new titles to the Gale Virtual Reference Library, which Newport Library card holders can access from our database page, or by clicking on this link.

The 22 volume Encyclopaedia Judaica is a great source for information about the Jewish religion and culture. I looked up Passover, which will be celebrated this week, and learned that the Passover meal traditionally includes a roasted egg and shankbone, a dish of salt, lettuce or horseradish, and haroset, a paste made from almonds, apples, and wine.

American Decades has articles about the arts, business, fashion, lifestyle, politics, science, and sports of each decade of the 20th Century. In Volume 1, 1900-1909, I read an article about "American Women's Fashion."

"The American innovation of well-made ready-to-wear clothes produced a distinctive contribution to fashion: the shirtwaist, a blouse designed to be worn with a skirt. Paris looked down on the shirtwaist, which first appeared in the late nineteenth century, as a fashion disaster; but American women, particularly workingwomen, took to the garment in droves. By 1905 the Sears, Roebuck catalogue offered 150 variations of it, from a plain lawn version priced at 39¢ to one made of taffeta at $6.95. In 1907 a peek-a-boo shirtwaist shocked many conservatives with its eyelet embroidery, which allowed the flesh of the arm to show."

Not just fashion, but prices have drastically changed since then!

A student doing research on American history topics ranging from the Boston Tea Party to the recent war with Iraq can find easy to read, yet authoritative information in the U*X*L Encyclopdia of U.S. History. Did you know a group of angry Boston citizens dumped more than ninety thousand pounds of tea into the harbor? The cause and effect of their actions are discussed, with links to additional information.

Would you like some background on a book you’re reading for your book club? Twenty-First Century Novels: The First Decade has essays about recent books, including The Hummingbird’s Daughter, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, The Book Thief, and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.

We have some new medical books, also, including the Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health, Gale Encyclopedia of Senior Health, Encyclopedia of Drugs - Alcohol & Addictive Behavior, and Gale Encyclopedia of Surgery and Medical Tests. These are great resources for researching a topic before visiting your doctor.

Swinging a young child by the arms can cause Nursemaid's elbow.
(From the Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health)

The Gale Virtual Reference Library is just one of the many databases you can use for free through our website, using your Newport Library card to log in. Go to http:/ to see what else we have!

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