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Find the Value of Your Antiques

   Tuesday, November 27th, 2012 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

If you're curious about the history or value of some of your antique furniture, vintage toys, or just old stuff, the library has quite a few resources that can help.

Every year we get updated copies of price guides for coins and money, stamps, sports cards, and other collectibles. There are encyclopedias and picture guides for almost every subject too - toys to cigars to watches to clothing. Most of these are in the non-fiction shelves downstairs, and the Reference staff is happy to help you locate the right book.

Chelmsford residents also have access to an online antique pricing resource called P4A Antiques Reference (P4A stands for "Price For Antiques") - it's a quick way to check how much an antique might be worth, based on what similar pieces have sold at recent auctions.

P4A Price for Antiques database

The focus is on collectibles and historic Americana, including furniture, china, glassware, folkart, brass, silver, iron, artwork, and major antique collectibles, with complete information on when, where, and for what price the antique was sold. The database will also provide a little background information on each item, including date, maker, etc, based on the information that was provided at the auction.

Because antiques are described differently by different people, don't give up after your first search. Try describing your piece in various ways, and also try the country of origin, material used, and maker, if possible.

If you have any questions about the P4A Antiques Reference database, please contact the Reference Desk.

   Posted in Reference, Resources | No Comments »




Use Consumer Reports At The Library

   Thursday, November 8th, 2012 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Use Consumer Reports at the Library!Did you know the library subscribes to Consumer Reports? In fact, we subscribe to both the print magazine and the online database - and it's free for any Chelmsford resident to use!

We have two copies of the magazine - one upstairs with the regular magazines that you can check out to use at home (except for the most recent issue), and another complete set downstairs in Reference. The most current year is kept at the Reference Desk, and we also keep the last few years too.

In addition to the magazine, the library also has the Consumer Reports Buying Guide, and new and used car buying guides.

The online version of Consumer Reports is listed on the Reference databases section of our website - you'll need your Chelmsford Library card number to log in from home.

For similar resources, check out our Consumer Information webpage - it lists other subscription services provided by the library, as well as free websites.

Another great resource is the Boston Consumer Checkbook - instead of reviewing products (like Consumer Reports), it reviews local services, like plumbers, roofers, etc. Print magazines for the last few years are available by the Reference Desk, and online access is available too, but you must be in the library.

For help with these or any Library resources, please contact the Reference Desk.

   Posted in Library Information, Reference, Resources | No Comments »




Check Out The Online Newsstand

   Saturday, February 25th, 2012 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

The library is now offering easy access to the latest articles in popular magazines!

For years patrons have had access to these same magazines, but they've been sort of buried in our subscription databases. Now, there's an "Online Newsstand" that displays magazine covers that lets you click right into that magazine.

Online Newsstand
Click a magazine cover to read the latest featured articles & more.

This is available both on our main website and also on our mobile website - that way, you can have easy access to read magazines while you're on the go. New articles are added as the magazine is published, and you can also scroll to see past issues. There will also be more magazines added soon, too!

If you have any questions about accessing these magazines or any of our databases, please contact the Reference Desk.

   Posted in Current News, Reference, Resources | No Comments »




New Online Resources Available on our Website

   Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Over the last few months, the library has added a whole bunch of new online resources to our website. All of these are accessible either in the library, or outside the library with your library card and internet access.

Below is a list of the new resources, grouped by subject. To find them on our website, you can scroll through the alphabetical list, or find resources using our subject guides.

Books & Literature

  • Books and Authors
    Over 140,000 titles, 50,000 authors, and thousands of read-alike, award winner and librarian's favorites lists, Books & Authors helps bring readers and literature together.
  • LitFinder
    Covers world literature and authors throughout history, with wealth of literary works including full-text poems and poetry citations, as well as short stories, speeches, and plays.

Business

  • Business and Company Resource Center
    Provides access to a wide variety of global business information including competitive intelligence, career and investment opportunities, rankings, company profiles & histories and much more.
  • RDS Business Suite
    Balanced and highly focused full-text coverage of company and industry news, management practices, and market research information, featuring leading worldwide business sources, plus tens of thousands of tables with strategic data.

Health & Science

  • Health and Wellness Resource Center
    Access to ~400 health/medical journals, hundreds of pamphlets, health-related videos, and articles from general interest publications.
  • Psychology & Mental Health (Salem Health)
    Online access to Salem Press' Psychology & Mental Health, covering notable theories, people, social issues, life stages, the physiology and anatomy of the nervous system, and diagnoses, disorders, treatments, tests, for various mental illnesses or conditions, all in a simple, easy to use A-Z format.
  • Science In Context
    Contextual information on hundreds of today's most significant science topics, with full-text magazines, academic journals, news articles, experiments, images, videos, audio files and links to vetted websites.

News & General

  • Global Issues In Context
    International viewpoints on a broad spectrum of global and current events, including analysis of social, political, military, economic, environmental, health, and cultural issues.
  • Opposing Viewpoints In Context
    Information and opinions on hundreds of today's hottest social issues from full-text magazines, academic journals, news articles, primary source documents, statistics, images, videos, audio files and links to vetted websites.
  • Student Resources In Context
    Covering history, literature, science, social studies, and more, with reference material, full-text periodicals and newspapers, primary sources, creative works, video and audio clips and podcasts.

History

  • American in World History
    Explores the core historical events, trends, and personalities from U.S. history within the context of global history and international relations, using description, illustrations, maps, primary sources, a master timeline, and bibliographies for further research.
  • Milestone Documents in American History
    Online access to Salem Press' Milestone Documents of World History, which combines in-depth analysis with over 125 iconic primary source documents from ancient times to the present and from virtually every geographical region. The Salem History database also searches Great Lives from History: Inventors and Inventions and Encyclopedia of American Immigration.
  • U.S. History In Context
    Contextual information on hundreds of significant people, events and topics in U.S. History, from full-text magazines, academic journals, news articles, primary source documents, images, videos, audio files and links to vetted websites.
  • World History In Context
    Information on hundreds of the most significant people, events and topics in World History, from full-text magazines, academic journals, news articles, primary source documents, images, videos, audio files and links to vetted websites.
   Posted in Resources | No Comments »




New Study Rooms and Reference Redesign Completed

   Thursday, March 17th, 2011 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

New subject tables and study rooms in the libraryThis week marked the opening of the new study rooms on the lower level of the library - but that is just the most visible element of the library's continually-evolving approach to meeting the needs of Chelmsford patrons.

This project began with the realization of two trends:

  1. Our print reference collection was under-utilized
  2. Our single quiet study room was constantly booked

A New Approach To Reference
One of the first things patrons associate with libraries are reference books - the books that have to stay in the library. However, fewer and fewer people were actually using those books. Modern lifestyles are such that it is easier to do research at home or online, not using reference books in the library.

This reality calls for an updating of our approach to reference, and one way the library is responding is by making most of the traditional "library use only" books able to be checked out and taken home. These books have shorter loan periods - seven days - and cannot be renewed or requested by other libraries. This special circulation status should strike a balance between making sure the books are available in the library when people need them, and the convenience for patrons to use them at home.

As these books were redesignated as "okay to check out," they were also interfiled with the regular circulating collection. This makes information on a subject much easier to find, because all books on a topic are in one place, instead of having to check the circulating collection and reference collection.

The Library Is The Place To Be
Despite the drop in use of the reference collection, there has been a rise in use of the library as a common study and meeting space - especially by tutors and small groups.

Our single study room is always in demand, and it became clear than one room did not meet the needs of our patrons. So, as a way to repurpose the space that had housed our reference collection, we took down those shelves and built three new study rooms. Check out our online photo gallery of room construction.

Each room is 8' x 8', has two chairs, a long counter top work area, a clock, power outlets, and ethernet jacks for connecting to the internet. The rooms are reservable by contacting the Reference Desk.

Making Popular Topics Easier to Access
The third goal in this project was to highlight a few of the more frequently-used subject areas, and make them easier for people to find. To solve this we added three new subject tables, and also put these in the space where the reference shelves used to be.

The subjects on these tables are:

  • Encyclopedias & Statistics
  • Career Resources
  • Car Repair
  • Genealogy
  • Maps & Atlases

These are subjects that patrons are frequently asking for, and highlighting them on subject tables, with visible signs, will make them much easier to locate and use.

Most of the work has been accomplished, with library staff still finishing up some of the final touches. When you get a chance, stop by the lower level of the library to check out the changes.

Let us know what you think - we listen!

   Posted in Library Information | No Comments »




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