Free Services to Enhance Your Life

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 21:15

New Databases for Kids

If you have elementary or middle school students at home, you might want to check out the three latest additions to the State’s Digital Pipeline. The BrainPop website series features short animated films on science, social studies, English, math, engineering, tech, health, the arts and music. Two of them are for middle school-age kids, with one of them in Spanish ( and The other site ( is for students in K-3. All three feature quizzes, activities and links to additional videos.

I checked out one of the sites and was impressed. The home page is set up like a brightly colored bulletin board with notices of available features. Each lesson is launched with a timely, three-to-four-minute film featuring a discussion between Tim and his robot Moby. Though the graphics are fairly primitive, Tim gives surprisingly detailed information about the selected subject while Moby chirps in with short (sort of annoying) electronic blips. After the video, you can choose to learn more, take a quiz or go to another subject. It’s fun, easy to use and very informative.


If You Always Wanted to Read

Moby Dick…

If you tried – and failed – to read this American classic featuring the battle between an obsessed man and the enormous white whale, you might enjoy the Moby Dick Big Read. Herman Melville’s novel is celebrated and explored at And it is read, one chapter a day for 135 days, by a variety of different readers. Already more than 30 days into the Big Read, the site allows the interested to access all previously read chapters and download them for their listening pleasure.


Help the Library While Getting Great Deals on Holiday Gifts!

The annual Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale is on the first level of the Loussac Library the first weekend of November. As always, the sale has a huge inventory of nearly new books, DVDs and other media, all for a faction of the original price. For example, kids’ books are only $1 for hardbacks and $.50 for paperback. The sale is open from 10 am- 4 pm, Saturday, Nov. 3, and from noon-4 pm on Sunday, Nov. 4. On Sunday, everything is half price.

Friends of the Library, a key supporter of the library, raises about $100,000 each year to donate to the library. FOL members get first pick of the sale items on Saturday between 8-10 am. You can join at the door. More help is always needed at the volunteer-run event. Go to and click the volunteer button to register for a shift.


Anchorage TimeBank Connects Volunteers Throughout the Community

Anchorage TimeBank aims to revolutionize the structure of the local volunteer network by expanding person-to-person exchanges of services. Simply put – join the TimeBank, help your neighbor paint his house for two hours, deposit those two volunteer hours in the TimeBank, and withdraw them to give to the guy who helps you plant your garden. The rate of exchange is time: one hour volunteering for one Time Dollar, no matter what the service provided.

An institution in New England for more than 20 years, the TimeBank model is based on the premise that each person has valuable skills to share, and that the overall community is strengthened when neighbors help one another. To join is easy and free.

Go to to enroll. On your application, you are asked to list the skills you want to trade, and to pinpoint the skills you need. The ATB software matches you with potential volunteers who either need the service you can provide or who can provide the service you need. Exchanges are private. Time Dollars earned and spent are included in your monthly statements. There is also a special program for non-profits who join. If you have questions about the Anchorage TimeBank, email [email protected].

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