Tag Archives: Dana’s picks

Resource of the Month: ProCitizen


Are you preparing to become a U.S. citizen?  ProCitizen can help!   ProCitizen is a self-paced preparation course that will help you study for the civics, reading, and writing portions of the naturalization test.  Through a series of 100 informative videos, plus practice exercises and quizzes, you will learn everything you need to know to successfully pass the naturalization test.

To access this resource, visit www.nclive.org and click on the Career, Jobs & Test Preparation category.  Follow the link to ProCitizen.  (ProCitizen is provided through Pronunciator and can also be accessed through that resource.)  The first time you land on the ProCitizen site, you will enter an email address and a password to create an account.  This will allow you to track your progress throughout the course.

Once you are signed in, you will navigate through the lessons by using the drop-down menus at the top of the screen.  The left-hand menu displays the section, and the right-hand menu displays the question number you are currently working on.  Work your way through the course by using the navigation buttons on the screen.  If your computer has speakers, you will hear a narrator reading out lessons, questions, and answers.

If you need assistance with this resource, contact the reference desk at 545-8086.  Happy studying!


Resource of the Month: Morningstar Investment Research Center

morningstarMorningstar Investment Research Center is a comprehensive financial database serving investors of all levels.  It provides investment research data on approximately 370,000 investment offerings including stocks, mutual funds, and similar vehicles. It also offers real-time market data on more than 4 million equities, indexes, futures, options, and commodities as well as foreign exchange and Treasury markets.

To access Morningstar, visit www.nclive.org and click on the Business & Management subject heading. Choose Morningstar Investment Research Center from the list of resources. If you are accessing this resource outside of the library, you will be prompted to log in with your library card number.

From the Morningstar home page, you can search for information on companies, stocks, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and markets. You can also access portfolio tools and calculators for retirement and college savings, see Morningstar’s fund and stock picks, choose funds and stocks based on your stated criteria, and much more.

Resource of the Month: e-iNC Library

e-inc_lib_logoTired of paying a fortune for eBooks? Wish there were a free alternative? Lucky you! As a Chatham County Public Library patron, you have access to our eBook collection (e-iNC Library), which contains over 12,000 eBook and eAudiobook titles, all available to download for FREE with your library card!

Our collection contains fiction and nonfiction titles for adults, young adults, and children alike. Here’s just a sample of what you’ll find:

  • The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
  • The Invention of Wings – Sue Monk Kidd
  • NYPD Red 2 – James Patterson
  • The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
  • Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Jeff Kinney
  • Disney titles

To check out our collection on a computer, visit www.chathamlibraries.org and click on “Download eBooks” in the left-hand menu. Search by author, title, or subject, or just browse collections to see what’s on our digital shelves.

Patrons may check out four titles at a time, with a three-week checkout period. At the end of your lending period, titles will automatically expire and be returned to the collection for the next patron to check out. This means you’ll never incur a late fee on an eBook title!

Download to your iPad, iPhone, Android, Kindle, Nook, or other e-reader device. Step-by-step instructions are available here, at the bottom of the page. Make sure to click on the appropriate device, as download instructions vary widely among devices.

Questions?  Give us a call at the Reference Desk to schedule an appointment for one-on-one assistance: 919-545-8086.

Resource of the Month: Infotrac Newsstand

Infotrac NewsstandWondering where the New York Times database went?  You can now access the NYT and over 2,500 other news sources through InfoTrac Newsstand, a full-text newspaper database which allows users to search articles by keyword, headline, date, newspaper section, and more.

Infotrac Newsstand currently contains over 131 million articles from national, international, state and local news sources published between 1980 and 2014, with more content added each day.  It also includes images as well as radio and TV transcripts.  Once you’ve performed a search of the collection, you’ll have numerous options for fine-tuning your results.

To see if a particular newspaper is included, click on Publication Search on the orange toolbar, then search by title.  You can also choose List All Publications to see a complete listing of available titles.

To access this resource, visit www.nclive.org and click on the Articles icon below the Browse heading.  Scroll down the list of databases and click on Infotrac Newsstand.  If you are accessing the database outside of the library, you will be prompted to log in with your library card number.

Need help?  Give us a call at the Reference Desk:  919-545-8086.

Resource of the Month: HeritageQuest

heritagequestIf you’re interested in researching your family history, HeritageQuest is a great place to start.  Provided through NC LIVE, HeritageQuest delivers an essential collection of genealogical and historical sources that include:

  • Census records:  Find ancestors in the complete set of U.S. Federal Census images from 1790 – 194, including name indexes for many years.
  • Books: Find information on people and places described in over 28,000 digitized family and local histories.
  • PERSI (Periodical Source Index):  Find information about people and places from this index of over 2.3 million genealogy and local history articles.
  • Revolutionary War records:  Search selected records from the Revolutionary War Era Pension & Bounty-Land Warrant Application files.
  • Freedman’s Bank records:  Search for individuals in Freedman’s Bank (1865-1874), which was founded to serve African Americans.
  • U.S. Serial Set:  Search the Memorials, Petitions, and Private Relief Actions of the U.S. Congress in the LexisNexis U.S. Serial Set.

To access HeritageQuest, visit the library’s website or go to www.nclive.org and look for the “Genealogy & Historical Maps” category.  Click on the link for HeritageQuest below the heading.  (You will be prompted to log in with your library card number.)

Need help getting started with your family history?  Genealogy volunteers are available by appointment every Thursday from 9:00 am to noon, and from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.  Call 919-545-8086 to make an appointment.

Resource of the Month: Auto Repair Reference Center

ARRCDo you have a DIY spirit when it comes to cars?  Do you just want to learn more about your vehicle before taking it to a mechanic?

Auto Repair Reference Center (ARRC) provides repair and maintenance information for more than 37,000 vehicles, foreign and domestic.  The information from ARRC comes from Nichols Publishing, the former publisher of the popular Chilton repair manuals, and the database is updated with new material on a regular basis.

To access this resource, go to www.nclive.org, click on the Hobbies & Interests category, then select Auto Repair Reference Center from the list.  You will be prompted to select your library and log in with your library card number.

From the ARRC site:  Select the year, make, and model of your vehicle.  The page will then display all available submodels for that vehicle.  Select the engine specification that best describes your vehicle.  For most vehicles, users will have access to:

  • Repair Information (including step-by-step photos)
  • Technical Bulletins & Recalls
  • Diagrams (electrical wiring)
  • Maintenance Intervals
  • Specifications
  • Labor Times
  • Diagnostic Information (based on symptoms and ODBII codes)

Please note:  Repair information is sometimes not available for newer vehicles (five years old or less).

Users can also access these additional modules through links at the top of each page of the site:

  • AutoIQ – short videos about the different parts and systems of a vehicle
  • Care & Repair Tips – general tips for caring for or repairing your vehicle
  • Troubleshooting – general resource for diagnosing problems with your vehicle

Need help navigating this resource?  Contact the reference desk at 919-545-8086, or chat with us at www.chathamlibraries.org.

Resource of the Month: Mango Languages

Learn a new language with Mango Languages!  This online resource is free for all library patrons and offers a fast and convenient solution for your language-learning needs.  Each lesson combines audio from native speakers with simple instructions, presented with an appreciation for cultural nuance and real-world application.  By listening to and repeating material designed from native conversations, you’ll not only learn the individual words and phrases, you’ll learn how to communicate in practical situations.

Start learning one (or more!) of the following languages:

  • Arabic (Levantine)
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • English for Spanish speakers
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Russian
  • Spanish

You can access Mango Languages through the library website at www.chathamlibraries.org.  Be sure to create a profile in order to track your progress.  You can also download the free mobile app for language learning on the go.  To learn more about this resource, contact the Reference Desk at 919-545-8086.

Ready, set, Mango!

Our summer reading picks

In anticipation of summer vacations full of summer reading, the staff at Chatham Community Library offer up these great recommendations for your summer reading pleasure…

Amy: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer.

Visit the Channel Islands during World War II and honor creativity in adversity! It’s the power of books and community told through letters.



Brendan: Lost Rights by David Howard

I’m currently reading Lost Rights: The Misadventures of a Stolen American Relic for Chatham Community Library’s July Book Club meeting. It’s the story of how North Carolina’s original copy of the Bill of Rights was stolen during the Civil War and recently rediscovered in an FBI sting operation, and its convoluted journey through many hands along the way. Come talk about it with us on July 3 at 6:45 pm at the Chatham Community Library!

Dana: A Conspiracy of Paper by David Liss

This well-researched historical thriller launches the Benjamin Weaver series, in which a boxer-turned-private investigator travels through the seedy underworld of eighteenth-century London in pursuit of thieves and debtors. Weaver (a Jew among Christians, adding yet another layer of interest to the story) becomes entangled in the world of finance and scandal leading up to the world’s first stock-market crash, brought about by speculation in the South Sea Company’s stock. If you want a rollicking good read without even realizing you’re also getting a bit of a history lesson (the beginnings of speculative trading, anyone?), you won’t be able to get enough of this series.

Megan: On Writing by Stephen King

Summer always puts me in creative-mode, and Stephen King’s classic memoir is full of both writing advice and hilarious life stories. A perfect lead-in to our summer edition of National Novel Writing Month this July!


Molly: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte & Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys.

Jane Eyre was written in 1847 and is the story of orphaned unloved Jane, self-described as “poor, plain, and little.” The novel, told in the passionate first person voice of Jane herself, chronicles the narrator’s life from age 10 through adulthood. While the story contains elements of romance, I would argue that it is a book primarily about one person’s quest for self-determination. Jane is caught in a time and place (19th century England) in which her role in the world is pre-determined. She does not accept this fate, however. There is a mystery at the heart of the book, too, which I won’t spoil. After reading Jane Eyre, definitely try Jean Rhys’s, Wide Sargasso Sea. While the book is technically a prequel to Jane Eyre, it was written over a century after Bronte published her novel, in 1966. This book follows the story of Antoinette, a brilliant and troubled creole woman from the Bahamas. To say more would be to ruin the surprise of both books.

Jennifer’s picks: Find yourself taking a “stay-cation” this year? Three outstanding new books will transport you to different times and places–from the deep woods of Michigan to the Blue Ridge of Virginia and North Carolina–hold you tighter than a patch of brambles, and haunt you like ballads “way over yonder in the minor key,” as Woody Guthrie put it.

The protagonist of Bonnie Jo Campbell’s Once Upon a River, Margo, is a teen abandoned by her mother. She’s learned most of what she knows on the river and is as sure a shot as her idol, Annie Oakley. After a tragedy forces her from her home, she survives in the wild on a search for her mother. This is a young woman who makes choices, though they aren’t always good ones, and faces challenges with a calm assurance. In a nutshell, Campbell has created a female Homer who overcomes trial after trial to return home—to herself. Although no Pulitzer prize for fiction was awarded this year, this book was long rumored to be in the running.

Ron Rash and Robert Goolrick are masters of atmosphere, and their newest novels ring with moonshine and high lonesome mystery. Neither Heading Out to Wonderful nor The Cove reach the art achieved in A Reliable Wife or Serena, but both are beautifully written mountain tales that evoke the sights, sounds, and smells of the Virginia and North Carolina Blue Ridge and readers would be missing stories as memorable and compelling as fairy tales.

Open Goolrick’s Heading Out to Wonderful and you won’t be able to stop reading until the bitter end. In 1948, “Charlie Beale drove into town out of nowhere in an old beat-up pickup truck. On the seat beside him were two suitcases. One was thin cardboard. . .and in it were. . .a set of butcher knives, sharp as razors. . .The other one was made of tin and. . .it was filled with money. A lot of money.” Then the handsome, mysterious stranger not only meets the ethereally beautiful wife of the meanest man in Brownsburg, Virginia, but draws the four-year-old son of his new employer into a train-wreck of a tale that will remind you of Long Black Veil, Tom Dooley, and other traditional tragic songs.

In The Cove, the suspicious inhabitants of Mars Hill, North Carolina have labeled Laurel Shelton a witch, though they accept her brother Hank, who has returned home from World War I minus one arm. The gloomy, secluded cove where she and her brother have spent their lives is widely believed to be cursed. One day Laurel follows the sound of flute music emanating from a swath of rhododendron and discovers a mysterious stranger. Dressed in rags, he has a note pinned to his shirt explaining that his name is Walter, he is mute, and he needs to get to New York. Hank and Laurel want to keep Walter in the cove as long as possible; Hank in order to make improvements to the homestead so he can leave the cove for good, and Laurel because she sees in Walter her only hope for happiness. When Walter’s dangerous secret is unwittingly revealed to a vigilante, the story steams full-tilt to its dramatic ending. Readers will want to learn more about the true events that inspired this story.

If you are still looking for books to read, here are more recommendations:

NPR’ s 2012 Summer Books Series

Goodreads Popular Summer Reading Shelves

Nancy Pearl Unearths Great Summer Reads

Library Journal: Summertime and the Reading is Easy

Don’t forget: summer reading isn’t just for kids! Chatham Community Library is pleased to offer its first summer reading program for adults, Between the Covers. Click here to sign up.