Among my more satisfying moments working at the Reference Desk are the times when I can inform a customer, disappointed that the print book they want is not available, that the information they need can be found in one of the Kansas City Public Library’s online databases. Eyes light up, and frustration is eased – yea, Librarian Hero!
People are even more pleased when they discover they can access many of these databases from home, with an Internet connection, a Library card, and PIN.
If you’re not familiar with our databases, don't let the word "database" deter you. Many of them are basically either searchable information repositories or online learning tools – i.e., "search engines" and "apps." An example of the former might be our searchable archive of every issue of The Kansas City Star since 1991, or the massive ProQuest database, which contains millions of articles from newspapers, magazines, and business journals around the world. An example of a learning tool could be the Mango Languages language tutor or the Brainfuse Homework Help application.
We also have databases for business research, genealogy, automotive repair, science, philanthropy, literature, politics … well, we better not give away too much or you may never leave home again (and we’d miss seeing you in the Library)!
In the hopes of spreading the good database news, I decided to highlight one of the online resources I frequently point people to.
In our current economic climate, with people scrambling to find jobs and get the education they need to get hired, Learning Express Library is a vital database. It provides skill improvement aids, testing study guides, career assistance, and learning resources for elementary through college and post-grad levels, as well as to people already in the workforce. Platforms for these resources include online guides and downloadable e-books.
Note: Learning Express Library, like many of our databases, requires you to create a username and password of your own, in addition to entering your Library card and PIN number for remote access. It’s still free, but it is one more username/password you’ll need to remember or write down and keep handy if you intend to return to the database.
Among the many riches in Learning Express are the skill-building resources, including math, reading, and science skills appropriate to grade levels; and occupational skill-building tools, such as business writing, interviewing for a job, and public speaking. Can’t find an available GED, SAT, or MCAT study guide on the library shelf? Check Learning Express for guides as well as practice tests in these, as well as other entrance type exams.
Learning Express also has a variety of study guides and preparatory help for a variety of occupations, including civil service, military, electrical, firefighter, and real estate, to name just a few. There is also a section for U.S. Citizenship study guides.
What’s more, Learning Express, like many of our databases, is always updating and adding to its content. For example, they recently added career materials for teaching, and medical assistance. They also have a section for computer software tutorials, which was not there when we first subscribed to it. Given how much our software books circulate, this is a great addition! Right now, included are courses in some of the Adobe products, such as Photoshop, as well as the Microsoft suite of products.
The most recent addition to Learning Express is the Job & Career Accelerator. Here you will find a job search portal, help in crafting a resume and cover letter, and aids to develop strong interviewing, business writing, and other needed employment skills. (Also don’t forget about our specialists in the H&R Block Business & Career Center if you need help in any of these areas.)
Of course, the best way to find out what’s available in Learning Express Library, or in any of our databases, is to jump in and explore! But if you ever need help navigating a database, or have technical issues, contact us at the Central Reference Desk, at 816-701-3433. Helping you is not just a job, it’s our chance to be a Librarian Hero!
About the Author
When she’s not assisting customers in the Central Reference department, Jean Rivard DuFresne makes glass beads and designs jewelry, which she sells at riveroflight.etsy.com. She also writes and is a voiceover artist.