Back to School Tools

With kids heading back to the classroom this August, the Library’s highlighting some of the online resources that are especially helpful to young scholars. Students can also find a variety of tools for Homework Help on our kid’s website.

Grolier Online has a huge range of resources for elementary and middle schoolers. State report? An entire online book on each state is here! Country report? An entire online book on every country is here! Animal report? An entire online article is here! Grolier Online color codes each essay so that you will immediately know the reading level of each article or book, plus it is easy to navigate. The information is constantly updated (2010 census data is included) and the photos are bright and sharp. This resource is great for kids just learning how to do their own information searches.

Need to write a California Mission report? Is your child studying California native tribes? Well, the Social Studies Fact Cards will get your student off to a good start with the basic information on these topics. Each "card" has the critical information about each mission or tribe written in a way that most second to fifth graders can understand. Additionally, the mission fact cards have a basic floor plan of each mission which will aid your child in making a 3-D model of their own. You can also find other online History/Social Studies resources. 

Biography in Context is a great place for any upper elementary through high school students to start when they are writing a report about a famous or not-so-famous person. It has a simple interface where you type in the name of the person, and a range of magazine articles, newspaper articles, and photos will appear. Biography in Context also gives your student information on how to correctly cite each article, an aspect of report writing that is critical as your student embarks on increasingly difficult research projects.

As students progress from simpler informative essays, they move into writing persuasive essays where they will argue for a certain point of view. Often students in middle and high school are assigned to take a controversial issue and argue their opinion. We have an entire resource for this: Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Here a student can look for their issue and read a wide range of well-written essays arguing both sides of the issue along with facts and data to support each viewpoint. This resource will help the student hone their thinking and their writing.

Finally, if your student needs some homework help, we offer live tutors via the web. From 1 to 10 p.m. every day, your child can log into HelpNow from our website and they will be able to text, chat and write to a real person who will help them in any academic subject. Even college students can log in for some one-to-one assistance. All of these resources are available to you and your child. All you need is your library card number and your PIN/password and you can check out these valuable homework resources from your home, work or school. We hope you find them helpful, and best wishes for a successful school year!

Here’s a handy check list of just a few of the ways the library can help you learn and make your future brighter.

  • Get a Library Card -- Your FREE ticket to hundreds of thousands of books, DVDs, CDs and online articles and tutors.
  • Check out great books for your nightly required free reading – and at the library it is really free.
  • Need help with your homework? Logon to HelpNow – chat online with professional tutors, free. Having trouble with Calculus or that literature essay needs some editing, tutors are available from 3-10 nightly.
  • Need to research the human genome or Asian musicology? Check out our databases at Teen Resource Center and Kids Homework Help web pages.
  • Want extra help with learning that second language? Check out Mango Languages and Power Speak.
  • Visit your neighborhood library – ask a librarian about all the free services and resources to help you with school.

Google Scholar at the Library

Students and researchers, SFPL is now sharing information about its online resources with Google Scholar.

Library users can use Google Scholar to search and download full-text articles and citations from San Francisco Public Library’s collection of more than 30,000 online journals.

Here’s how it works:

  • Direct your browser to Google Scholar and log in to your Google account.
  • On the Google Scholar search page click the link to “Settings” in the upper right-hand corner.
  • Over on the left select the link to “Library Links”
  • Type “San Francisco Public Library” in the search box and hit enter.
  • Check the box next to “San Francisco Public Library – SFPL Full-text” and click “Save.”

Now when you search Google Scholar, your results will show which articles are available through your public library.

To access articles online from the San Francisco Public Library you will need your library card number and PIN/password. 

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