The Library and Safe Searching with an Internet Encyclopedia

Growing up in the 80’s only the lucky few had a home computer or even knew what the Internet was. The first time I connected our home computer was just over 20 years ago. Now smartphones, tablet computers, and a multitude of devices are all over. 

So how did I find out about things? Well when my parents couldn’t give me a solid answer on something, they had me start by looking the subject up in an encyclopedia, or see what books or other materials are available. We visited our county library regularly. We bought an encyclopedia set from them during one of their sales, and from that a world of knowledge opened up for me. 

Nowadays we have the Internet. Open a search engine and see what you can find. But how do you know what you are looking at will be of value versus harm? The Internet can be an amazing but also scary place. In future posts we’ll explore this further, but I’m starting with the basics first. 

Luckily most of us have access to an impressive amount of online resources available from anywhere through – yes, the library. 

We’ll get there by opening a web browser. We chose FireFox since it is one that can work on practically all devices and doesn’t track your online activity like other popular services out there. We opened the FireFox app and used a search engine that doesn’t track you – DuckDuckGo.com

Our family lives in Broward County, FL so we searched for “Broward County Library.” 

It is easy to become overwhelmed given all of the services a modern library offers nowadays. In our case we want to see what “Online Resources” are available to us, so luckily the site has an icon from their main page. Their list is massive, and in our case we want to look under the “Education” section. Scroll down and you’ll eventually see “Scholastic GO.”

You’ll need a Broward library card to access some of the content such as this, so make sure you sign up either online or in-person to your appropriate library. 

On Scholastic GO we searched for “dinosaur” and found an age-relevant link for level 1 (grade 5 and under). We saved a shortcut to the Library’s Online Resources as well as Scholastic GO in FireFox so we can visit those sites regularly.

As we access services like the library we’ll create accounts along the way. It is helpful to manage all these accounts, so check in next week for more on that. In the meantime feel free to discuss your favorite services from your library and other places in our Facebook group

Welcome to the Next Level

Computers and the Internet have changed everything, enabling new services and business opportunities. 

As I grew up in the US, it wasn’t hard to think of the many things that America is number one in! That is not always a good thing though. We waste a lot of time watching TV or going online without a clear purpose or direction. How can we possibly change this mess? 

We can educate ourselves and then share what we learn with others. I’ll focus on doing this regularly as my kids grow into this new world. I also know that family, friends, and everyone can benefit from this.

Our game plan is to spend time once a week starting with the basics with using technology and build from there. The topics we’ll cover may not come up much in a formal educational setting, but we have the resources to make it happen. 

Ready? Let’s begin.