hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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February 22, 2012

Library to students: Don't trust Google

Forget Google.

That's the message the public library's staff is spreading to students in Haverhill schools.

The staff is visiting schools to encourage students to use the library to do their research, instead of giving in to the temptation of clicking a few keys on an electronic device.

Alissa Lauzon, head of youth services at the library, and Samantha Sednek, the teen services librarian, have been visiting classes for the past month to demonstrate the databases that students can use for their assignments. The databases include: Freegal, a free service to download music; and Bookslix, which is geared toward elementary children. Bookslix offers movie versions of picture books. It also pairs each picture book with a non-fiction book to enrich the child's reading experience.

"We are trying to avoid them just using Google to research," Lauzon said. "The sites our databases use have all been approved as factually correct. You never know what is true when looking on the Internet."

Wikipedia, a popular online encyclopedia, is a reference tool that is often used by students to get quick information, but it may not always be the most accurate, library staff members said. Wikipedia can be updated by anyone at anytime, so information that is on the popular site may look accurate when it really is not.

"I am working to show students the difference between good information and bad information," Sednek said. "Haverhill Public Library's collection of electronic databases makes this really easy."

The online databases offer subscriptions to multiple newspapers, magazines and e-books, some of which go back more than 20 years. All subscriptions are accessible with the use of a library card.

In addition to presenting the databases to students, Lauzon and Sednek recently held a seminar at a PTO meeting at Tilton Elementary School to teach parents and teachers about the databases as well.

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