Cool Tools for Educators

Librarians know that it can be hard to navigate the range of online media resources and feel confident about their quality. To help educators prepare for this school year, we’re providing a list of useful online resources. Teachers can experiment and add these resources to their toolkits for middle and high school classrooms. Visit the Articles and Databases page of to find resources containing information collected from books, magazines, research journals and other authoritative sources, each with bibliographical citations.

For social studies and history:

  • San Francisco Chronicle Historical offers news articles from 1865-1922.
  • New York Times Historical offers news articles from 1851 to three years ago.
  • Opposing Viewpoints is a great site for getting information on both sides of controversial issues. There is a list of commonly searched topics, and a wealth of other possible searches; good for students who are learning how to have to present theses and need more in-depth research.
  • Biography Resources Center + Marquis Who's Who is useful for finding well-known figures, as well as learning about more obscure people who students may have a hard time locating in encyclopedias.

For science, geography and health

  • Gale Virtual Reference Library and Student Resource Center both have sources on the environment, medicine, cloning and other topics.
  • Sanborn Maps California offers digital access to maps of California from 1867 to 1970
  • Teen Health and Wellness has information from experts on physical and emotional health related concerns for teens.

For the college bound:

  • CollegeSource Online has full text college catalogs for about 45,000 colleges.
  • LearningExpress Library offers online practice tests for the SAT, GED and other standardized tests.

Other recommended online resources for educators

  • CIA World Factbook is a government resource that has a broad range of information on governments around the world and more general geographical information.
  • Online Archive of California has a range of digitized primary source materials to view, as well as curricular tools to provide lessons on topics from native Californians to the Gold Rush to the internment of Japanese citizens.
  • Freedom Archives is useful for school projects on social-justice movements in the Bay Area. Students may want to explore the audio recordings from this resource, which is based in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Media sources by and for young people:

  • Youth Radio is regularly featured on NPR. The website has a range of stories from pop culture to youth viewpoints on the hard news issues of the day.