Research News


A recent visitor to the Reference Department had just opened up a commercial janitorial service and asked if we had any resources to help him find customers.

I suggested we look at ReferenceUSA, one of the library's most popular licensed databases, which allows you to search for business listings by combining search parameters such as geographic location, industry, sales volume or number of PCs. He wanted to focus on small offices in an industrial area near 2nd and Tejon, so I showed him how to formulate a search that combined the zip code for that area with privately owned businesses whose square footage is no larger than 2,499.

There's no debate...the Library has great resources

"Debate and Oratory," 1909 University of Washington yearbook, public domain

French essayist Joseph Joubert said, “It is better to debate a question without settling it, than to settle a question without debating it.” He understood that debate, forensics, and persuasive writing foster critical thinking skills, analytical self-reflection, intellectual curiosity, and a respect of difference.

Increasingly, students are being asked to justify, synthesize, and analyze complex issues into persuasive written and oral arguments. Assignments like these tie into the recently adopted Common Core Standards which “reflect... the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers.”

The library has both online and print resources to help students assemble research content, understand the mechanics of debate and persuasive writing, and polish a presentation.



From Bela Lugosi's courtly, cornball, heavily accented count to the angst-ridden teen leeches of the Twilight series, vampires have been an essential part of film history. Our fascination with them, experts suggest, has something to do with our fear of death and yearning for immortality at any price -- or maybe it's just cool to imagine an eternity of partying all night and sleeping all day.

Some version of the vampire myth has existed in nearly every culture; the first recorded account came from Western Europe during the Middle Ages. Since there was no explanation for disease or natural disasters, vampires were blamed. They were depicted as foul, bloated, and barely semi-human. It wasn't until John Polidori's 1819 novella The Vampyre that they began their transformation into the charismatic and nicely dressed entities that we know and love today.

Our Democracy Un-Spun! #10 Get out there and VOTE!


In the 1948 election, Thomas E. Dewey was projected to trounce President Harry S. Truman by a wide margin. Dewey was then the Governor of New York, and was considered stiff and pompous, "...the only man who could strut sitting down," some said. None the less, the polls were predicting a landslide in his favor.

The Chicago Tribune would be the first to report it in their early edition, with the famous headline, "Dewey Defeats Truman." Instead Truman won by more than two million popular and 114 electoral votes.

Our Democracy Un-Spun! #9 The Electoral College & The Polls


It's 6:45 p.m. You're tired from a long day at work, and have just finished throwing something together for a quick dinner when the phone rings. It could be a telemarketer? A scam?

Or it could be Gallup Polls. Meet Ed Dubas. He works at the Gallup call center in Omaha, Nebraska, making polling phone calls for various organizations. A former used car salesman, Ed has been their best interviewer in the world for five years. He loves what he does, despite the hang-ups and four letter words. For him working for Gallup is about 'documenting the will of the people.' Gallup is especially well known for the quality of their political polls.

Our Democracy Un-Spun! #8 – Statistical Hot Spots & The Debates


In 1776, some of the founding fathers borrowed money from France and the Netherlands to help fund the American Revolution. We owed $43 million by January 1, 1783. Congress voted to raise taxes, as well as to assume some public debt.

In 1790, with a debt estimated at $77.1 million, interest-bearing bonds were issued and the government established its good credit. Alexander Hamilton became our first Secretary of the Treasury. He helped design the strong centralized funding of the United States, including tariffs and taxes. The Louisiana Purchase cost $15 million, at just 4 cents per acre, but it derailed efforts to pay down the debt at that time.

Book Group

Do you like to read, talk and eat? Would you like a way to make new friends, see things in a new way and find genres and authors that you've not considered before?

If so, you may find the perfect nexus in a book group. There are many types of book groups, ranging from a group of friends getting together monthly to discuss an essay to special-interest virtual groups, such as Thumper's Corner, which is specifically for African-American literature.

Local Drop-In Book Groups

Our Democracy Un-Spun! #7 – Statistics & How Can We Know the Truth?


"Even such fundamental mathematical verities as … ‘1 and 1 are 2,’ can be misapplied: one cup of...

water plus one cup of popcorn are not equal to two cups of soggy popcorn." John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy, p. 67.

Our Democracy Un-Spun! #6 - Money on the Colorado Scene


We're looking at important 2012 issues and races in Denver and in Colorado, too. In Denver, we will decide about funding for our public schools, and whether or not to reverse the limits on the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights from previous legislation.

Denver has a database for Campaign Finance Reports, and the Denver Clerk and Recorder's Office will be mailing out notices of the election soon, with summaries of the comments received for and against ballot issues.


Have you read all the books on your nightstand and depleted your Nook? Don't settle for reading the cereal box or that copy of Who Moved My Cheese someone left in the break room - you can find fresh and unexpected page-turners from a variety of sources.

Beat everyone to the waiting list by using Clues Unlimited to find upcoming mystery titles, as well as mysteries for children and British imports.

Can't remember the name of the third Harry Potter book? Check out What's Next, a comprehensive database from the Kent Library District, MI, that allows you to find a fiction series by genre, author, series name or book title.

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