The beginning of 2009 is a busy time with resolutions, the inauguration of a new president, the Super Bowl, and taxes!

Yes, tax time is right around the corner. Joplin Public Library does not carry the paper tax forms but has access to forms via the Internet. Forms are available at the IRS Web site ( and through the Thomas Gale LegalForms database.

The Thomas Gale LegalForms database can be found on the library’s Web site ( under the “Reference” then “Online Services” links. Under “Tax Forms” on the database you will find links to the IRS Web site and the tax Web sites for all 50 states.

A database that was used in the past to access many different forms including tax forms will not be available after Jan. 15. The Facts on File Business and Personal Forms database is being discontinued by the publisher. The publisher does offer reproducible forms in a paper format that are available in the library, but these do not include the tax forms.

If you want historical information on taxes instead of forms or on presidential inaugurations, you can use the Salem History database. This database was recently updated to include content from the reference set “Great Lives of the Twentieth Century.”

Joplin Public Library has the multivolume “Great Lives” set which goes from ancient times to the 20th century. The set is divided by time period: “The Ancient World”; “The Middle Ages”; “The Renaissance and Early Modern Era”; “The 17th Century”; “The 18th Century”; “The 19th Century”; and the “20th Century.” At this time, only the content from the 20th century set is available online.

When you use the database, you will search all of the content and the tabs across the top of the results page sorts the results. You have tabs for “History/Event,” “Primary Source” and “Biography.” Typing “taxes” in the search box returns 232 results, with 128 of those results listed under the “Biography” tab giving access to “Great Lives of the Twentieth Century.”

The other Salem database that the library offers, Salem Health, has also been updated. “Salem Health: Cancer” is a four-volume set that was added to the library collection, and all of its content is now available through the Salem Health database.

Salem describes this set as 835 essays on diseases, conditions, symptoms, cancer-related syndromes, chemotherapy and other drugs, cancer centers, genetics, the biology of cancer, medical specialties, tests, procedures, complementary and alternative therapies, lifestyles, healthy and preventive strategies, and social and personal issues surrounding cancer. A search on a type of cancer results in articles that define the cancer type, give risk factors, tell how the cancer progresses, list symptoms, incidence, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. The essays are informative and written for the lay person to read and understand.

Another database update is for the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps. Last year, the publishers dropped home access to this database using your library card number. The library was recently provided with a username and password that can be given to Joplin Public Library card holders to enable them to use the database from home. If you would like access to this database outside the library, come by or call the reference desk at 624-5465. The reference staff will verify that you have a valid library card and then provide you with the password and username.

Please visit the Joplin Public Library Web site from home or come in the library for access to these databases and many others to help you with your information needs.

Patty Crane is the reference librarian at Joplin Public Library.

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