The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 9, 2009

Patty Crane: Electronic sources offer reading options

In the summer of 2007 I reviewed the library’s collection of electronic books. At that time we had about 6,200 e-books from Netlibrary. Since that time, we have continued to add books to this collection; it now contains more than 9,400 titles.

The newest additions include a broad range of subjects. You can access books on careers and job, such as “Career Guide as a Computer Technician,” “Careers in the United States Secret Service” or “200 Best Jobs for Introverts.”

Find a job you like? Use “Cover Letter Magic,” “Gallery of Best Resumes” and “Acing the Interview” to help you apply for the position. “Award Winning Customer Service” or “Boss from Outer Space and Other Aliens at Work” may help when you get the job.

If you want to travel instead of job hunt, you can read travel guides to everywhere including Tampa, Florida, Alps, Puerto Vallarta, Peru or Sicily. Staying at home? Maybe “Write Your Life Story” or “French in Your Face: The Only Book to Match 1001 Smiles, Frowns and Gestures to French Expressions” will help to fill your time.

Health and self help books are plentiful in the collection. Health topics include migraines, diabetes (both type 1 and 2), diet and weight loss and childhood cancer. “Help, I’m Knee Deep in Clutter,” “30 Days to a More Powerful Memory” and “Are You Your Own Worst Enemy” are just a few of the self-help titles available.

Other titles you might find interesting are “No-Cry Discipline Solution,” “Kids of Character,” “Savvy Mom’s Book of Legal Forms” and “I’m On Facebook — Now What?”

All of these books and the 9,400 other titles in the collection are available to you through the Internet with a Netlibrary account. If you don’t have an account, call (417) 624-5465 or come by the reference desk.

Another previously reviewed resource that has added content is Litfinder.

When the library subscribed to Litfinder it was published by Roth Publishing and it offered only poetry. Cengage, formerly Gale Publishing, purchased the database and began to upgrade the content.

The database offers criticism, biographies, overviews of works and literary topics, reviews and full texts of many literary works. Those literary works, in addition to poetry, include short stories, essays, novels, plays and speeches.

Besides additional content, the publisher also added search capabilities and updated the screens. This upgrade did not come without growing pains.

If you used Litfinder in the last few months, you’ve probably noticed a serious lack of speed. This issue has now been resolved and I encourage you to try it again.

A basic search returns a lot of information and many links to take your search in a new or a more focused direction. A keyword search for Easter, results in four biographies, three overviews and 1,198 primary sources and literary works.

You can narrow your results by clicking the subject link on the left side of the screen. Clicking on “Easter” brings up 317 works while clicking on the broader search term, “Holidays,” nets 2,294 works.

Perhaps in light of the holiday you want to narrow the search and choose Easter. From the results list you can read the H. E. Bates short story “The Easter Blessing” or read the poem “Easter Time” by Laura E. Richards. You have the option to print, e-mail, and download any the works.

You can translate any of the pages very easily. The translation tool is in the tool box on the right side of the screen. Just choose the language and click “Translate.” Languages available are Spanish, French, Japanese, German, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese (simplified) and Korean.

There are many other tools to help you get the most from this database. You can use the “Tips and Guided Tour” links at the top of page for hints and a good overview on the use of Litfinder.

The next time you need a book or a poem and can’t come into the library, try one of these great resources from home. Go to and get instant access to a variety of wonderful works.

Patty Crane is a reference librarian at the Joplin Public Library.