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Books & Authors
Offers new ways to explore the endless possibilities and combinations of books, authors, genres, and topics.
Are you looking for books to read in your favorite genres? Sign up for our e-newsletters and get great book suggestions by e-mail.
Adults and teens can find books of interest by searching for favorite authors or genres. Read book reviews and see best-of lists. Full-Text Articles
Students in grades K-8 (and their teachers) can find book suggestions for their next great read. Full-Text Articles
Detailed directory including contact information for residents and households, businesses and executives, and healthcare professionals. Also has a job search feature. Directory Listings
Business (Gale OneFile)
Full-text coverage of all business disciplines including accounting, economics, finance, marketing, management and strategy through nearly 4,000 leading business and trade publications, updated daily.
Communications and Mass Media (Gale OneFile)
Academic journals and magazines focusing on all aspects of the communications field. Key subjects covered in the database include advertising and public relations, literature and writing, linguistics, and more.
Entrepreneurship (Gale OneFile)
Academic journals and magazines perfect for both business school students and entrepreneurs. The database offers content that includes insights, tips, strategies and success stories.
Consumer Ratings & Reviews
Find reviews of products, such as appliances, electronics, home and garden items, kids’ items, and more. Full-Text Articles
Kelley Blue Book – free web site
This free web site is a useful place to find pricing information for both new and used cars, motorcycles, jet skis, and snowmobiles. It also provides automotive reviews and ratings. A similar service is edmunds.com, though it seems to focus exclusively on automobiles. Local information on automobile pricing and availability can be found in the print and online automotive pages of the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post. Directory Listings
Washington Consumers’ Checkbook
Find reviews of services (house cleaners, plumbers, auto repair shops, doctors, etc.) in the Washington metro area. Full-Text Articles Only available within the library.
Auto repair manuals for thousands of makes and models available digitally for routine maintenance or diagnostic information.
Home Improvement (Gale OneFile)
Offers more than 4.5 million articles from more than 200 home improvement-focused titles, covering topics including architectural techniques, tool and material selection, zoning requirements, and others.
eBooks & eAudiobooks
Use the free cloudLibrary app to browse, check out, download and read eBooks or listen to eAudiobooks.
Stream and temporarily download movies, television shows, music albums and audiobooks from major Hollywood studios, record companies and publishers. Follow the “Sign Up” instructions to begin and then “Sign In” on subsequent visits.
OverDrive / Libby (Maryland’s Digital eLibrary Consortium)
Download eBooks, eAudiobooks, or magazines to your computer, tablet, Kindle, or smartphone. Use OverDrive’s website to send eBooks to your Kindle, or use Libby, the free mobile app, to borrow and read instantly on your mobile device. Libby is available in the iTunes App Store, Google Play, and Microsoft.
RBdigital (formerly OneClickdigital)
Current and past issues of more than 100 different magazines to read on a computer and/or download to a tablet or smartphone. Free RBdigital app available for Apple and Android devices.
Ancestry.com Library Edition
Find billions of records from around the world, including census and vital records, immigration and passport records, plus periodicals, books and photos. (Temporary at-home access available during HCLS’s closure due to COVID-19. Our thanks to ProQuest!) Full-Text Articles
Genealogy Connect (Gale)
Features research and e-books on topics such as genealogy best practices, immigration, Atlantic states, the American Revolution, and much more. Full-Text Articles
Some overlap with Ancestry.com, but this tool has a strong collection of family and local history e-books, and is also accessible from your home computer. Full-Text Articles, Directory Listings
MyHeritage Library Edition
One of the most internationally diverse genealogy databases of its kind with more than 6 billion historical records from the United States, Europe, Latin America, and other regions. Includes exclusive family tree profiles from Geni. New collections added monthly.
Academic OneFile Select (Gale)
Collection of scholarly journals and general interest titles that covers everything from art and literature to economics and the sciences.
Educator’s Reference Complete (Gale OneFile)
Provides periodical and journal articles on multiple levels of education from preschool to college, and every educational specialty—such as technology, bilingual education, health education, testing, administration and more.
Gale eBooks [formerly Gale Virtual Reference Library]
This tool offers electronic access to encyclopedias, almanacs, and other research books that, in earlier days, were only available in print. Includes eBooks on a broad range of topics from arts to technology. Full-Text Articles
Teacher Reference Center (EBSCO)
Indexing and abstracts for nearly 300 peer-reviewed journals. Topics covered include Best Practices, Curriculum Development, Literacy Standards, Pedagogical Research, Instructional Media, Language Arts, Science & Mathematics, School Administration, and more.
FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center
Use this web site to find your official flood map, access a range of other flood hazard products, and take advantage of tools for better understanding flood risk.
Howard County Government
The official web site of the Howard County Government. This free resource can be used to locate county agencies and information about county services. Full-Text Articles
Maryland.gov – free web site
The official government web site of the Maryland, including information for residents, business, and visitors. Full-Text Articles
United States Government Manual
The official government handbook, including profiles of every agency and information on quasi-official agencies; international organizations in which the United States participates; and boards, commissions, and committees. Full-Text Articles
The U.S. government’s official web site. Find agency websites, government-produced reports and statistics, names of elected officials, and more. Full-Text Articles
Grant Application Research
Foundation Directory Online
Research 92,000 funders and more than 1.3 million recent grants made to institutions. (Temporary at-home access available during HCLS’s closure due to COVID-19. Our thanks to Candid!) Directory Listings
Foundation Grants to Individuals
Search 6,200 foundation programs that fund students, artists, researchers, and other individuals. Directory Listings Only available inside the following branches:
Health & Medical Information
AMA DoctorFinder – free web site
This is a free web site provided by the American Medical Association. Includes more than 690,000 American doctors. Physicians can be searched by name or by specialty and location, and listings include such information as education, specialty, hospital affiliation, and type of practice. Full-Text Articles
Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs
This is a free website by Consumer Reports. Search for drugs by name or by medical condition and see tables comparing the drugs’ dosage, cost, effectiveness, etc. Full-Text Articles
Coronavirus Research Database by ProQuest
A collection of journal articles, preprints, conference proceedings, dissertations, and more info related to COVID-19 and other coronaviruses. Includes comprehensive research background coverage of past pandemics and epidemics, like MERS and SARS, to give researchers, students, and medical workers context around the current global crisis. Full-Text Articles
This web site by the National Institutes of Health is a very thorough encyclopedia containing information about diseases, conditions, wellness issues, drugs, supplements, and more. Full-Text Articles
Archives Unbound (Gale Primary Sources)
Search primary source materials related to Maryland history, such as Maryland’s city and business directories from 1752-1929, letters and reports from the War of 1812, Confederate newspapers, and more. Full-Text Articles
Biography (Gale In Context)
A collection of biographical information on more than one million people throughout history, around the world, and across disciplines. Full-Text Articles
An electronic collection of historical and cultural documents, images, audio, and video held by notable Maryland institutions. Full-Text Articles
A collection of more than 40 ebooks from Oxford focusing on history and the arts. Full-Text Articles
U.S. History (Gale OneFile)
Provides periodical content covering events in U.S. history as well as scholarly work established in the field.
World History (Gale OneFile)
Provides balanced coverage of events in world history with relevant articles updated daily - both current thinking and established scholarly work
Homework Assistance & Tutoring
ABC-CLIO eBook Collection
This tool for middle and high school students includes more than 7,000 encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and guides on topics from business to world history. Full-Text Articles
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – free web site
This U.S. Department of Education free web site is an essential destination for the parents of college age students because filling out an FAFSA form is the first step when you apply for federal student grants, work-study aid, and loans. You may also use this form to apply for most state and some private aid. While print FAFSA forms are widely available, this web site allows you to fill out and deliver the form online. Also included on this site is the online equivalent of the print Federal School Code List.
High School Edition (Gale OneFile)
Access to authoritative, reliable digital content from magazines, journals, newspapers, and reference books appropriate for middle- and high-school students and covers a wide range of subjects, including science, history, and literature.
High School research (Gale In Context)
Resource for papers, projects, and presentations that empowers the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills with content aligned to national and state curriculum standards.
Ebooks for high school and college students on careers, current issues, business, literature, math, science, the arts, and U.S. History. Most of these ebooks are about topics in literature. Full-Text Articles
Middle School research (Gale In Context)
Created specifically for middle schoolers, this resource combines reference content with age-appropriate videos, newspapers, magazines, primary sources, and much more.
National Geographic Kids
Includes National Geographic Kids magazine as well as videos, photos, and e-books on animals, the environment, history, places, science & tech, and people & cultures. Full-Text Articles
SIRS Issues Researcher
Includes articles exploring hot topics in society. The pro/con organization of this information is helpful for assignments on opposing viewpoints. Full-Text Articles
World Factbook – free web site
This free web site is the online equivalent of a print title by the same name. Surveys each of the world’s countries, providing a map, a historical narrative, and fairly extensive statistical information on every nation. Produced by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Full-Text Articles
Maryland Workforce Exchange
Find info on upcoming job fairs and recruitment opportunities as well as the top Maryland employers who are currently hiring.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
This free website by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics includes information such as required training, wage levels, and growth outlook for almost any job imaginable. Full-Text Articles
Testing & Education Reference Center (Gale)
Use the VisualCV resume creator tool, the cover letter editor, or the website editor to create attractive documents that promote your skills to employers. You can also research career overviews and take assessments to find jobs that align with your values, personality, and interests.
Search ads for jobs with the U.S. government. Directory Listings
Vocations and Careers (Gale OneFile)
Access to journals and magazines that aid users in researching a vocation, finding an appropriate institution of learning, job searching, and maintaining a career.
Designed to expose young children (ages 0-6) to foreign languages. Mango's Little Pim offers 15 different languages, and teaches children 60 words and phrases per session.
* Requires Adobe Flash Player. On HCLS computers, please use Firefox to access this resource.
Online training for adults in 45 different foreign languages. Also includes lessons for individuals in need of English as a second language training. You must create a free account to keep track of your learning progress.
Aimed at kids ages 6 and up, this service uses interactive lessons, stories, and songs to teach eight different foreign languages (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Russian, Chinese, and English).
Rosetta Stone Online
Engage in the proven language immersion method that more than 22,000 schools and 12,000 businesses have trusted for over the last 20+ years. Select from 30 languages structured around core lessons in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Microphone required for speaking lessons.
Maryland-specific legal forms for routine situations like name changes, power of attorney, lease agreements, wills, and business transactions. These forms are fill-in-the-blank, downloadable, and continuously updated to reflect the latest laws. Also includes definitions of common legal terms, legal Q&As, sample letters, and a law digest.
People’s Law Library of Maryland
This site, maintained by the state of Maryland, provides resources to help you evaluate your legal situation, research the law, file cases, prepare for court, appeal a decision, and more. Find info about consumer law, criminal law, domestic violence, family law, probate, and much more.
LitFinder (Gale Literature)
Find more than 145,000 poems, short stories, essays, speeches, and plays representing the work of more than 79,000 authors. Full-Text Articles
Marina (Interlibrary Loan)
Marina is the interlibrary loan system for Maryland’s libraries. Use Marina to borrow books that are not owned by Howard County Library System. Directory Listings
Magazines & Newspapers
Search almost 2,000 magazines and journals published from colonial days to the dawn of the 20th century. Full-Text Articles
Baltimore Afro-American Archives (1893 – 1988)
Often called The Afro, this weekly newspaper was the most widely circulated African American paper on the Atlantic coast. It was the first black newspaper to have correspondents reporting on World War II as well as foreign correspondents and female sports correspondents.
Liberty Magazine (1924 – 1950)
This once-popular weekly U.S. magazine featured contributions from some of the biggest politicians, celebrities, authors, and artists of the 20th Century. Full-Text Articles
Life Magazine Archive (1936 – 2000)
Life was a popular photojournalism magazine featuring story-telling through documentary photographs and informative captions, providing subscribers with intimate views of real people and their real life situations. Full-Text Articles
Maryland Digital NewsBank
Read 45 local Maryland newspapers (including the Howard County Times and Columbia Flier) online. Text-only; no photographs or advertisements. Also includes text-only versions of 27 magazines such as Washington Family Magazine, National Review, and Slate, plus special reports on hot topics like world health. Full-Text Articles
National Geographic Virtual Library
Includes National Geographic magazine from 1888 to the present as well as recent issues of National Geographic Traveler. Full-Text Articles
News (Gale OneFile)
Searchable access to more than 2,300 major U.S. regional, national, and local newspapers, as well as leading titles from around the world. It also includes thousands of images, radio, and TV broadcasts and transcripts.
Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers
Features full-text and images from urban and rural papers throughout America in the 1800s, with an emphasis on topics such as the American Civil War, African-American culture and history, Western migration, and Antebellum-era life. Full-Text Articles
Read thousands of newspapers and magazines from around the world and instantly translate them from one language into another. Only includes last 90 days of news, no historic archives. Full-Text Articles
RBdigital Magazines [formerly Zinio]*
Current and past issues of more than 100 different magazines to read on a computer and/or download to a tablet or smartphone. Free RBdigital app available for Apple and Android devices. Full-Text Articles
Time Magazine Archive (1923 – 2000)
Each issue of this prominent weekly magazine was intended to be read in under an hour. Time featured current events, politics, sports, and entertainment news and is an important resource for researchers studying 20th-Century history. Full-Text Articles
Learn an instrument, vocal techniques, or art skills from award-winning teachers with these free self-paced online video classes. Enter the same username and password that you use for Zinio digital magazines or create a new account if you’ve never used Zinio.
An interactive brain training program built by Posit Science. Think of it as a personal gym, where you exercise and improve your memory, attention, brain speed, people skills, intelligence, and navigation instead of your abs, delts, and quads. Each exercise automatically adapts to your unique skill level. Create an account on the brainHQ web site and then continue using the web site OR download the free brainHQ mobile app.
More than 300 six-week online classes on a variety of topics, including business, technology, health care, personal development, the arts, and hobbies. Full-Text Articles
This online education portal offers more than 3,600 video courses taught by experts on technical skills, creative techniques, business strategies, and more.
This tool brings biology, chemistry, earth, and space science to life, letting users explore 3D models by zooming in, rotating, or pulling them apart. Currently not available for mobile devices. Full-Text Articles
Science (Gale OneFile)
Helps researchers to remain current with the latest scientific developments in particle physics, advanced mathematics, nanotechnology, geology, and hundreds of other areas.
Watch, read, and learn about science topics, including earth science, space science, life science, human health, physical science, and technology & engineering. Full-Text Articles
Test Prep, Practice Exams, and Career Research
Prepare to take the written Maryland driving exams for cars, motorcycles, and a commercial driver's license (CDL) with this series of free online tests.
Practice tests for AP exams, the GED, the SAT, grad school entrance exams, and various jobs. Also includes tutorials on math skills, writing skills, and citizenship requirements. Full-Text Articles
Testing & Education Reference Center
Practice tests, courses, and test prep e-books for SAT, ACT, GED, and other major job tests, plus a scholarship and college search tool. Full-Text Articles