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Being resourceful

Originally published in the Ketchikan Daily News, November 2022; written by Pat Tully

This past Tuesday, First City Libraries--a partnership between the Ketchikan Public Library and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District Libraries--held its annual staff meeting. We discussed changes to our online library system and also resources we have found useful in our work with patrons. Here are a few of those resources:

Live Homework Help: This resource, available via the State’s SLED program (Statewide Library Electronic Doorway), is a chat tutoring service for Alaska students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Trained tutors in a variety of subjects are on hand Monday through Friday from 8am-2am, and Saturday and Sunday from noon-2am, to provide step-by-step guidance to students. To find Live Homework Help, go to the Library’s website: click Find Stuff, and scroll to Live Homework Help.

Playaways: Playaways are audiobooks, each in a small, self-contained case. To listen to a Playaway audiobook, you just plug in a pair of headphones or earbuds. The Library has popular titles in Playaway format for adults, teens and children. The format has become popular because it does not require you to have a separate player or computer device. Search for the Library’s Playaway titles in the First City Libraries catalog by doing a title search for ‘playaway’.

Wonderbooks: Wonderbooks are children’s books that have a built-in device so a child can read along while listening to an audio version of the book. The Library has a collection of picture books and easy readers in a Wonderbook format. Search for the Library’s Wonderbook titles in the First City Libraries catalog by doing a title search for ‘wonderbook’.

Novelist: Novelist is an electronic resource for readers of all ages. Using Novelist you can find the order of books in a series, books in a similar style to your favorite author, and recommendations for your next book club reads. To explore Novelist, click Find Stuff on the Library’s website, then scroll to Novelist.

Binge Boxes: Binge boxes are a recent addition to the Library’s offerings. Each box contains a game, book and DVD on a particular theme, so a family can enjoy a weekend of Harry Potter, Frozen and other favorites. Binge boxes are in the Children’s Library, displayed in the alcove across from the desk.

Library Extension: Library Extension is an app that you can add to your browser. When you are in Amazon or other site and find a book you want to read, click the Library Extension icon on your browser to find out whether or not your local library has the title. This free app is available at:

First City Libraries: With your Library account, you can place a hold on a book or other item in a School District Library or the Public Library, and it will be delivered to your library via the School District’s courier service. This service is available throughout the school year and it is particularly helpful for families who are homeschooling.

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