DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!


Jul 31 2013

National Back To School Month

by Glenda

Back to SchoolAs summer comes to a close, parents and students all over the country will celebrate National Back to School Month. As we all begin to prepare for school, children all over will be doing back to school shopping and parents will be looking for information to ensure their students are prepared. One helpful series of books for this is The Core Knowledge Series. What your kindergartner needs to know: preparing your child for a lifetime of learning edited by E.D. Hirsch, Jr. and John Holdren is an excellent book for parents who have kindergartners starting school. This series continues through sixth grade with What your sixth grader needs to know: fundamentals of a good sixth grade education.

Some students may also be looking for something more light-hearted such as Back to school for Rotten Ralph by Jack Gantos, Seventeen things i’m not allowed to do anymore by Jenny Offill, or Back to school with Betsy by Carolyn Haywood. For kids in middle school a couple of great books are Middle school is worse than meatloaf: a year told through stuff  by Jennifer Holm and Middle school, the worst years of my life by James Patterson. An excellent book for high school student is 97 things to do before you finish high school by Steven Jenkins and Erika Stalder.

These are just a few titles that will help both parents and students preparing for school, so stop by your local library and pick up a great back to school book.


Aug 10 2009

Homework, Help!

by Amanda L


With school starting back today, homework is not far behind for the students of DeKalb County. How many times as a parent have you had your child come to you early in the evening and say  “I have an assignment due tomorrow morning, and I need to go to the Library!” I know my first thoughts are I don’t want to go out now.  My second thought is usually, the library will be closing shortly or is already closed.

We have a variety of electronic resources that may help you or your child with homework from home. They can be found on our Reference Database page.  For elementary and lower middle school children, many of the resources can be found on our Children’s page. You will need your DeKalb County library card number and your personal identification number (PIN) to access these resources. (The PIN is a 4 digit number.)

For general research help, we have online encyclopedias such as Groliers and Britannica. For social studies homework, there is Grolier’s Passport, Sirs Researcher, Student Resource Center for middle school and younger. For high school or older students, we also have CQ Researcher available.  For Science homework, there is Student Resource Center, Encyclopedia of Animals, and the National Science Digital Library  (available through GALILEO).  For literature homework, there is Literature Criticisms Online and Literature Resources from GALE.

Although the Learning Express Library is listed under test preparation, this resource has several tutorials, tests and diagnostic tests that can help with homework. For instance, they have practice and diagnostic tests for reading comprehension, a variety of math for all levels and vocabulary for high school students. This resource also has a few courses available such as Middle School Writing Courses, and some basic math courses.

Searching for newspaper or journal articles? We have a couple of resources for this type of research. The easiest way to search is to go to GALILEO.  (It will ask you for your library card and PIN numbers and then give you the current password. You will then type in the password to proceed.)  If you click on the search button and type in your keywords, it will search for relevant articles.  These are just a sampling of electronic resources that you have available at your fingertips from home.  Feel free to browse our database page or GALILEO.  If you need specific help on where to start your search, don’t forget to use our Email A Librarian service. It can be found under the Research tab on our home page.  Be sure to select “I need help finding information.”


Sep 10 2008

Homework Help

by Ginny C

With school back in full swing, lots of students are coming to the library in need of homework help.  Books are great places to start when doing research for reports and projects.  Sometimes, though, the book your child needs just isn’t available.  More often, teachers are requiring students to use books AND articles.  We have several databases that are designed specifically for students in elementary, middle in high school.  They can be found here or by going to our homepage, clicking on Reference Databases under the Research tab and scrolling down to Student Resources.

Each database has a short description of the kind of information and the subject areas it covers to help you choose.  If you need help navigating the databases, library staff are always happy to help!


Aug 6 2008

Back to School

by Ginny C

It’s back to school time!  (For Dekalb County Public School students, anyway.)  I hope you took advantage of the Tax Free holiday last weekend to stock up on school supplies.  Don’t forget that the Library can help with the back to school preparations, too.  We have many (many, many) books on starting Kindergarten, starting grade school, first day jitters, how to deal with new teachers, starting a new school, schools in other countries, separation anxiety and more.  We have picture books, chapter books, beginning reader books and teen books.  We also have books for parents on how to prepare your child for school and what you can expect him or her to learn and experience with each new grade level.  There are too many titles to list them all, so I’ve included just a few to get you started.

I Don’t Want to Go Back to School by Marisabina Russo:  Despite his older sister’s dire warnings of all the terrible things that could go wrong on his first day in the second grade, Ben has a wonderful time.

Mama, Don’t Go by Rosemary Wells: Yoko loves kindergarten, but she doesn’t want her mother to leave–until her new friend helps her realize that “mothers always come back.”

Kindergarten Rocks! by Katie Davis: Dexter knows everything there is to know about kindergarten and is not at all scared about his first day there, but his stuffed dog, Rufus, is very nervous.

Back to School, Mallory by Laurie B. Friedman: After moving, eight-year-old Mallory struggles with being new at school, especially because her mother is now the music teacher and director of the third grade play.

How Not to Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler: Seventeen-year-old Sugar Magnolia Dempsey is tired of leaving friends behind every time her hippie parents decide to move, but her plan to be unpopular at her new Austin, Texas, school backfires when other students join her on the path to “supreme dorkdom.”

What Your First Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a good first grade education Edited by E.d. Hirsch, Jr.:  For parents, these books describe what your child will be learning in each grade level, up to sixth grade.

There are many more titles available, too.  If you want more recommendations, please ask a librarian.  We’d love to help you find one that’s just right for you.


The DeKalb County School System has a new online library catalog called Destiny. If you have a child that attends public school in DeKalb County, you may already be familiar with it. You can access it directly from the school system’€™s homepage. Once you click on the Destiny link, you will then select your child’€™s school. That takes you directly to the library catalog that searches only books in that particular school. You can search for books by author, title, series, subject and keyword.

Schools are also encouraging children to know their Lexile Measure and read books in that Lexile range. (You can read more about Lexile Levels here.) Destiny allows you to input Lexile numbers and find books by authors or subjects that fall into that Lexile range.

With Destiny you can also:

  • Search for award winning books. You can search by national awards (i.e. Newbery, Caldecott) or by state awards (i.e. Georgia Book Awards.)
  • Search for books in certain categories. There is a tab at the top of the screen labeled Visual. It brings up 8 popular subjects (holiday, sports, etc.) and lists books in those areas.
  • Search for books by AR (Accelerated Reader) level.
  • Search for books by call number. For example, if you type in 641, it will pull up all the books at that school with that call number. This may be most useful when writing reports as it lets you see all the books related to that topic.

With the schools closed for the summer, you won’t be able to get books from your media center. But you can get them from us. Once you find a title on Destiny, head on over to our catalog to see where the book is in our system. You can drive to a branch to pick it up or put it on hold and have it sent to your closest branch. You can pick it up when it arrives.

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School’s out for the summer and your child is looking for something to read.  Newbery and Caldecott Award winners are a good place to start, but if you’ve exhausted those lists or you’re looking for something more recent, I’ve listed a few of my favorite sites below.

TeenReads is a great site for new releases, book reviews and author interviews.  They feature only books that are written for the teen audience, and have special sections for graphic novels and Christian fiction.  You can also browse their archive as far back as 2002 for books you might have missed when they first came out.

KidsReads is a similar site, but geared toward children in preschool through middle school age.  They review picture books, beginning chapter books, as well as fiction books for elementary and middle school.  Their special features include a list of books that have been turned into movies, popular series, and books soon to be released.

The American Library Association also has lots of good lists.  YALSA, the division of ALA devoted to young adults has lists of popular paperbacks, good books for college bound teens, great graphic novels and more.  ALSC, the division of ALA devoted to children’s services, has many lists, including bilingual books, books about diversity, and books for preschoolers, middle schoolers, and elementary age children.

The last site doesn’t contain book reviews, but it’s helpful if you’re looking for all the books by a particular author or the list of books in a series.  The Mid-Continent Public Library has put together a site that keeps an updated list of just about every series written for children and teens that you can think of.  You can search by title, author or series.  New books are added as they come out.  Books in a series are listed in chronological order so you’ll always know which one comes next.

If you have a favorite site to look for children’s books, list it in the comments.


May 21 2008

Catch the Reading Bug!

by Ginny C

If you have a school age child, you know why he or she is looking forward to Friday, May 23.  It’s the last day of school, of course.  Another day to look forward to is Saturday, May 24.  That’s the first day of the 2008 Vacation Reading Program.  This year Georgia has joined with 47 other states to Catch the Reading Bug (our theme for this year’s program.)  We have a reading program for children of all ages: Wee Reader for babies from birth to two years; Catch the Reading Bug for those ages 3-12; and Metamorphosis for teens ages 13-17.

Signing up is easy.  Just visit any DeKalb County Public Library and tell a staff member you want to participate.  You can view the rules here.  Prizes include tickets to Zoo Atlanta and Fernbank Museum of Natural History.

On Tuesday, May 27 musician Eric Litwin will help us celebrate the start of our Vacation Reading Program at our kick off parties at 3 locations around the county.  There’s one near you so we hope you’ll come out and join us for songs, storytelling and crafts.

Come in anytime between May 24 and July 31 to Catch the Reading Bug.  And don’t forget to check out our program schedule for special children’s programs all summer long.


One of the best all-in-one websites I’ve used is www.gacollege411.org .

Screenshot Of gacollege411.org

This website is specific to Georgia colleges and universities, but there are other partner sites, which I’ll mention again a bit later.

I recommend beginning with the Getting Started tab on the far left. It won’t take long to look through these links, and the information on how to use the site is very helpful.

The multi-colored tabs along the top take you directly to specific sections. Here are some of the highlights:

  • College Entrance Requirements are in the Student Planner section.
  • In the Career Info section, you can match your interests to different college majors using the career key feature, or match jobs to the kind of major each requires using the Student Career Matching Assistant.
  • There are other ways to match schools and your interests in the Comparative View and Matching Assistant sections under the GA Colleges tab. You can even take virtual tours.
  • Under Applications & Transcripts you’ll find a feature that uses information you store in the website to fill out your applications to Georgia colleges and universities.

Notice those links on the left under Getting Started; here you’ll find sections on College Test Prep and the HOPE Scholarship. I like the design of this site and the helpful ways in which they give you more than one place to find the information that you need.

Also interested in colleges and universities outside of Georgia? If you click on the Georgia Colleges tab, there’s a link to sites for schools outside the state. If you save information using that neat application feature, it remains usable in the other sites.

You might also visit CollegeSource Online, which is bookmarked on our Databases page. Here you’ll find an online version of college catalogs, so that you can search from one source rather than going to several different college or university websites. To see this database, go to http://www.dekalblibrary.org/search/cdrom.ssi and click on the link for CollegeSource Online under the Tests and Careers menu.

Also, feel free to visit your closest library branch for some great print reference resources.

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The New York Times recenty featured an article about the International Community School, a public charter school located in DeKalb County.

The school opened in 2002, and was designed “to bring together refugee, immigrant, and native-born children in an academically challenging and nurturing environment.”  The school faces many challenges, including funding, communication difficulties with parents, and young students who have often just arrived surviving horrific conditions.  The school offers a unique program which provides a caring introduction to American life for refugee and immigrant students, as well as an opportunity for native-born children to gain insight into other cultures and develop a more open world view. 

The school offers classes for students in grades K-6.  In order to assist the older siblings of students, as well as parents and grandparents, in 2004 the school began offering “Saturday School,” a Family Literacy Program designed to address the basic literacy needs of these family members.

Read the complete article HERE, including photos and a short but touching video about a friendship between two of the school’s young students.