Freedom to read (#BannedBooksWeek)

The last week in September is Banned Books Week when publishers, booksellers, librarians, teachers, and readers concerned with the freedom to express ideas share stories concerning censorship. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), censorship is “the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are “offensive,” happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. ” Banned Books Week is a time for individuals to consider how best to respond to these types of attacks on freedom.

Most banned books of 2020

The American Library Association (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 156 challenges to materials and services in 2020. Of the 273 books challenged last year, the books most often targeted for removal from library shelves, along with the rationale used by communities to restrict their being assigned in schools , include the following:

  1. George by Alex Gino
    Reasons: Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community”
  2. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people
  3. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now”
  4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author
  6. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
    Reasons: Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience
  8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students
  9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse
  10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    Reasons: Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message

Where to learn more

Join like-minded individuals interested in preserving the freedom to speak, read, and learn at various digital Banned Books Week events sponsored by the Banned Books Week Coalition, PEN America, and libraries around the country.

Creating your first annotated bibliography

You’ve received an assignment from your instructor to create an annotated bibliography. “What’s that,” you say. The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University defines a bibliography as “a list of sources (books, journals, Web sites, periodicals, etc.) one has used for researching a topic.” In an annotated bibliography, each entry contains crucial information about the work, in the form of a citation. A summary of the major points made by the author(s) and an evaluation of the resource complete the entry.

Finding a source for your annotated bibliography

The works you cite in your paper—your reference list—form the basis for your annotated bibliography. Whether you use the library or the web to locate resources for your term paper or essay, you want to be sure that these are authoritative works by credible sources. Look for “academic” or “scholarly” publications. Academic/scholarly articles can be reviewed by an editor before being published or peer-reviewed by experts in the field. For more on this subject, consult the NOVA Libraries LibGuide, How to Identify Scholarly Information, or take a look at this video tutorial created by the University of Kansas Libraries.

Citing resources properly

There are several ways to cite a resource. Your instructor will likely tell you which format to use. If this is not clear in your assignment, confirm the required citation format before beginning your research.

The American Psychology Association (APA) and Modern Language Association of America (MLA) formats differ slightly; both require similar elements, such as the author (or authors), title of the source (e.g., article), the “container” of the source (e.g., journal), publisher, and date of publication. Additional elements for each work cited depends on the format of the work. For more information, as well as examples for each type of resource, consult the NOVA Research Guide for Citing Sources.

Your citation serves as the header to your annotation with a .5 hanging indent. The paragraph that follows should be indented one inch. (This is the same formatting you use for a block quote.) The annotated bibliography should be double-spaced.

Summarizing each entry in your bibliography

In 1-3 sentences, restate the main points of the article/book/video/website you are including in this bibliography. Identify the author and the intended audience for the work. Using your own words to describe the arguments and ideas expressed by the author will demonstrate how well you understood the major concepts of the topic. Remember to maintain objectivity and use third-person pronouns (e.g., he, she, the author(s), they).

Evaluating each resource

Once you’ve told readers what they will find if they look at the resource you’ve cited, you can add your opinion of the source. Use 1-3 sentences to tell the reader—your instructor or fellow classmates, for example—what the source contributes to your research question or project. In this portion of the entry, you can:

  • Identify any special features of the work that were helpful to you, such as tables, charts or graphs, or an extensive bibliography of additional resources.
  • Tell the reader about the author’s background and what makes him/her/them a credible source of information about this subject.
  • Comment on whether the work is suited for its intended audience.
  • Indicate any bias you’ve noticed, helping your classmates by making them aware of what to look out for if they use this work for their research project. This will demonstrate to your instructor that you have mastered information literacy and critical thinking skills.
  • Comment on the observations of the authors and how you agree or disagree with their conclusions.

Additional resources

This is a lot of information to pack into @150-200 words! Use what you’ve learned in English classes to help you pare the information presented to what’s essential for the reader to know. Here’s a video to remind you of the process for creating an annotated bibliography.







Researching health and wellness among minority communities

Health disparities among communities in the United States exist. Social vulnerabilities put minorities at disproportionate risk of all sorts of chronic diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and obesity.

How can we understand what is going on in our communities and efforts to mitigate the effects of poor air/water quality, an absence of affordable fresh fruits and vegetables, and even the lower education levels that can exacerbate health disparities? Using our information literacy skills, let’s identify some quality resources so we can understand the current situation and how it can be improved.

Resources from the federal government

The U.S. government has a wealth of data and information that can be mined to uncover ways in which people’s health can be improved. If you’re curious about the government’s objectives for health data collection in the current decade, you’ll find that at

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Minority Health subsite features an e-newsletter, Health Equity Matters, a blog (Conversations in Equity), and various health disparities/strategies reports. State and local programs using “culturally tailored interventions to address preventable risk behaviors” are funded by Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) funds.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) publishes reports and statistical briefs on racial/ethnic minorities, as well as children/adolescents, the elderly, low-income, rural/inner-city residents, and women. A good starting point for your research might be the Minority Health fact sheets.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) website contains health profiles of American Indian and Alaskan Natives, Asian Americans, Black/African Americans, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders. The OMH Resource Center’s collection of books, documents, reports, journal articles, and media is searchable via the online catalog. Consumer health materials are available in more than 40 languages. If you want to find national or regional organizations providing health information to minority communities, use the Advanced Search option (format=organization).

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities examines factors contributing to health disparities among underserved populations, including racial and ethnic minorities. Also look at the resources targeted for each of the populations mentioned above in MedlinePlus.

State and local governments

Some federal agency studies present minority health data at the state or local level. There are organizations of state and local authorities concerned with health disparities as well. For example:

  • The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) tracks health disparity regulation.
  • The National Association of County Health Officials (NACCHO) has a program that supports efforts to confront the causes of unequal distribution of disease and health resources, Health Equity and Social Justice. Its six-module Roots of Health Inequity course is open to individuals and groups.

Not-for-profit organizations conducting research

Several health organizations fund research through partnerships with not-for-profits or universities. “Healthy Communities” is the focus of research funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWF). For example, RWF funds the Advancing Health Equity initiative at the University of Chicago.

Minority Health Journals

Some publications dedicated to minority health issues are available through NOVA Libraries’ online databases, such as EBSCO Academic Search, while others can be accessed via the web. In addition, several titles that remain behind publisher firewalls have open access versions allowing the public to read articles covering minority health on their site, or via PubMed. Here’s a list of a few open access publications:

American Journal of Public Health 

Ethnicity & Disease 

Ethnicity & Health

Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved 

SSM (Social Science & Medicine) Population Health 

Journal of health, population and nutrition 



Check out the databases on trial in the library and let us know whether we should subscribe!

When conducting research before writing an essay or term paper, you may begin at our A-Z list of all databases available through the NOVA libraries. Scroll down and look at the right-hand side of the page to see the databases that we’re considering as future purchases. Try them out and let us know what you think!

magazine icon


We had to limit access to our current magazine shelves during the pandemic. In the past, students would browse the shelves and flip through current issues of all sorts of titles, ranging from Bloomberg Businessweek to Vogue. On trial now is EBSCO’s digital newsstand, Flipster, where you can read the latest issues of digital magazines that would be behind a firewall if you tried to access them through their individual title or publishers’ websites. Browse any of the 19 categories, from Art & Design to Travel.

Magazines are an excellent way for students to read news stories with a bit more context. The articles encountered might give you a clue as to an interesting topic for your next writing assignment. However, you can find all sorts of titles in this database, from Bon Appetit to Motor Trend, Popular Mechanics to Vanity Fair.

Films Video


The NOVA libraries subscribe to several video collections:

Academic Video Online

American History in Video

Docuseek Streaming Video

ICE Video Library

Kanopy Videos

PBS Videos Online

Sage Streaming Video

Swank Digital Campus

You may already be familiar with the educational videos available in the Films on Demand database. On trial now is Films on Demand – Feature Films for Education. Instructors may choose to assign a title for their students to watch from genres such as Biography, Drama, and Literary Adaptation. However, there’s no reason why you couldn’t look for your favorite Action or Adventure film. If you’ve got children or younger siblings, explore the Animated films in this database. And that’s just the first letter of the alphabet!

Digital Theatre Plus can supplement the teaching of Shakespeare, but you may be inclined to explore the Broadway Digital Archive that is part of this collection.



Those studying horticulture will know of the library’s horticulture research guide. We’re now evaluating a new Gale Gardening and Horticulture database. The look-and-feel of the interface should be familiar to anyone who’s used other Gale databases in our collection, such as Opposing Viewpoints. Let us know if you think that this Gardening & Horticulture database would be of value for your studies!

Tell us what you think!


April is Financial Literacy Month

You may have heard librarians talk about information literacy or perhaps media literacy (“fake news”) during library instruction sessions. Through the past year you may have discovered a “new” need to focus on health or financial literacy. As April is Financial Literacy Month, we thought we’d help you apply what you’ve learned from us about information literacy to the realm of finance.

Important literacies to master

What is financial literacy?

According to the Center for Financial Inclusion, “financial literacy is the ability to use knowledge and skills to manage one’s financial resources effectively for lifetime financial security.” NOVA students may think about finances when it comes time to fill out financial aid forms, but financial literacy is an essential skill to build and exercise throughout your life. Some of the new fintech and neobanks make it easier than ever to make good financial decisions for saving and investing, prompting users to remember to save through digital savings apps, budget planning and spending tracking, monitoring credit and paying down debt.

Sifting for financial literacy

When seeking financial guidance, try using the SIFT method:


When you’re looking at a website or other source of information, STOP and start with a plan. Consider what you want to know and the purpose of your current inquiry. Where is this information likely to be found? Who might have looked into this before?

Think about the site you are viewing, who made it, and why. Is this the best resource to tap? Can you gauge their expertise in this area by reviewing their academic and professional credentials? Usually, a quick check is enough, but sometimes you’ll want a deep investigation to verify all claims made and check all the sources.

Investigate the source

Know the author’s expertise and the motives of the publisher of the information so that you can interpret it free of bias. Verify the information by seeing what others have to say about the source. Do other sites/resources concur?

A fact-checking site may help. Snopes and AllSides might be familiar to some; as journalists often need to verify their sources, you could look at the Society of Professional Journalist’s Toolbox and employ some of their tactics. Just as there are political fact-checkers, such as and Truth or Fiction, there are fact-checkers for financial sites too, including the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Read carefully and consider while you click. Rather than reading one article to the end, open multiple tabs for lateral reading.

Find trusted coverage

Look for the best information on a topic by scanning multiple sources. Find an in-depth analysis and read multiple viewpoints. Don’t forget to look beyond the first few results returned from your search, bypassing the ads that appear at the top of many Google searches. (You can avoid this by using The MarkUp’s extension for Firefox and Chrome Browsers, Simple Search, that eliminates the extraneous material that crowds that first page of results returned in a Google or Bing search.)

Trace to the original

Don’t consider claims or quotes as gospel; trace them back to the original source to be sure that individuals have been quoted accurately and in context.  Think about what might have been clipped out of a story, a photo, or video. What might have happened just before or after? When a research paper is mentioned in a news story, go to the original document to be sure that the study has been accurately reported. Find the original source to see the context so you can decide if the version you have is accurately presented.  For example, if you’re consulting Wikipedia, scroll down to the references, using the links to view to the original.

If you are interested in learning more about the SIFT method, check out 2019 Mike Caufield’s blog, SIFT (The Four Moves) or his YouTube video series, Online Verification Skills

Gamification of financial literacy

Financial educators recognize the importance of gaming apps that are designed to help consumers understand the ins and outs of financial investing. was founded at Carnegie Mellon University’s Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship. The website has a translator of financial terms into plain English, a podcast, and goal-setting challenges for those seeking an understanding of student loans, the S&P 500, auto loans, credit cards, Roth IRAs, and 401Ks. The site features three simulators: Time Portal (, Stock Market (, and Crisis Calculator ( Try them out – or look for the Troutwood app in the Apple store where you’ll find a great Buy Sell Hold simulation.

Additional resources

To get you started on your financial learning program, here are additional resources to explore:

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has a website ( designed to help you understand personal finance. provides free online financial education courses through instructor assignments or self-study; customizable financial worksheets, a budget wizard, quizzes, and calculators; a personal dashboard for tracking your progress; articles/resources; and a guide to real-life money questions.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ( contains educational resources to help consumers make better, more informed financial decisions.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) website employs game-based learning in their computer-based instruction tool, Money Smart. Modules help adults learn how to better manage their finances. All modules are available in English and Spanish.

The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Consumer Information website features a blog and resources about saving/spending money wisely, credit/debt, housing, and work/school.

Khan Academy has a series of Personal Finance life skill advice and resources to guide users into making better decisions.

Congress established a Federal Financial Literacy and Education Commission in 2003. The Commission’s website,, features information, games, and fun facts about money, saving, and planning for the future. Lesson plans on the site serve as a resource of federally-funded research reports and articles on financial topics.

FINNY creates bite-sized, personalized learning opportunities covering any topic that might interest you: budgeting, saving more, managing taxes, insurance, investing, and more. is chock full of resources for learning about topics such as evaluating your finances and understanding credit. It includes resources for teaching children about finance too.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of Investor Education and Advocacy has gathered resources on to help individuals “make sound investment decisions and avoid fraud.” has free online courses for learning at your own pace, on your own time. Topics are timely, such as crisis and fraud, education and career, family and finances, holidays and money, housing and transportation, insurance and taxes, retirement and aging, saving and investing, spending and borrowing.

Look for college business school courses that have developed websites for financial literacy education, such as Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy. Several academic libraries, eager to support their instructors and students, have developed LibGuides on the subject. Find one on the web that meets your needs.



Welcome to Sunshine Week 2021!

Sunshine Week is a celebration of the public’s right to see U.S. government records. Initiated in 2005, Sunshine Week features events sponsored by groups interested in the public’s right to know about its government, including government agencies, news organizations, universities, and libraries. These public events are designed to raise awareness about how important openness and transparency in government are for a democratic society. This year, Sunshine Week is celebrated the week of March 14-20, encompassing the March 16 birthday of James Madison, known as the “father of the Bill of Rights.”

Sunshine Week events

A Sunshine Week events calendar describes each event, date and time, and how to register or join. For example:

  • On March 15, Open the Government will host a panel discussion of the Trump Presidential Library and records, “What Presidents Do to Keep Us from Knowing What Presidents Do.”
  • Also on March 15 is the New England First Amendment Coalition online webinar, “Keeping the Light On: Holding Government Accountable,” examining “the values of open and responsive government and how all citizens play a role.”
  • The News Leaders Association webinar on March 18 features a discussion by journalists “on how they navigated barriers to public records to tell important stories about COVID-19, official misconduct and beyond.”
  • Join the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition on March 18 for an online discussion, “Truth Be Told: The Proliferation of Online Misinformation and Disinformation — And What We Can Do About It.” Sign up at
  • The DC Open Government Coalition is holding a webinar on Thursday afternoon, March 18. The full schedule is on their website. There are three panels exploring the laws about open data, meetings and records; education data; and accessing the state of access to D.C. records and agency compliance with public requests.

Federal agencies often celebrate Sunshine Week. This year, the events are virtual, including:

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) celebrated Sunshine Week by introducing a bill (H.R. 1929) to update the Presidential Records Preservation Act of 1978, assuring that good records management practices are applied to electronic messages.

Open Data Day

In actuality, the celebrations begin on Saturday, March 6, with Open Data Day, a global effort to bring together individuals interested in increasing access to information online. There are many online events this year, headquartered in the United States and abroad. Search for events in which you might wish to participate at

NOVA students are informed citizens

Students should understand what information is available from the government and how to gain access to it. Participating in a Sunshine Week event might be your first step in discovering what to do when obstacles are in your way.

Watch this space throughout Sunshine Week (#SunshineWeek) for more about openness and transparency in government!

Learning while enjoying

With summer upon us, many activities designed for children in another time, including camps, are closed down this year. We are likely to hear some whining from little ones tired of being trapped at home: “There’s nothing to do.” If you are working from home and your day-care options remain limited, you might create a plan for your children (or your younger siblings) that will keep them on track for the coming school year but still be enjoyable and distinct from the online schooling they experienced this spring. For example:

YouTube Learning now offers #CampYouTube with options to fit any child’s interest—from A (for Adventure or Arts) to S (STEM, Sports). The site also features campfire talks, craft projects, and a recipe for S’mores bars that do not require a campfire.
• The Children’s Museum in Washington, DC, is offering STEAMwork summer virtual programs, Monday through Friday @ 3PM. Using project-based teaching to foster students’ skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) activities for each day of the week have a different focus: Monday is early childhood, Wednesday for elementary school grades, and Friday is for full family engagement.

If you’ve got a budding scientist in your home, there are several good resources to keep your child entertained all summer long in “Summer Science Resources for Families.”

Brooklyn (NY) Red Hook Public Library (RHPL) begins its summer programs for children on July 6 with four themed units:
• In Small Worlds, children will share their observations of ants or moths with scientists
Near Worlds will look at the community of Red Hook, creating a collaborative local map and photography project
Big Worlds looks at how Red Hook interacts with communities in the US and around the world
• For those interested in outer space, Far Worlds will be your best choice, with projects relating to astronomy and the global environment.

Children can choose to participate in any or all “Worlds.” There will be one Zoom session each week for children ages 5-7 and another for those aged 8-11. Each unit includes five days of activities. Online projects are completed via ClassDojo. Watch this site for programs geared toward children older than 11.

The arts (and crafts) online
Their doors may be closed but theaters and museums are connecting with young art lovers through free classes, art games, and activities. The weekly calendar of events at Lincoln Center at Home plainly denotes #ConcertsForKids. Add them to your calendar so you won’t forget. This week, there’s The Villalobos Brothers’ Mexican folk music (June 24 @ 7PM); previously archived #ConcertsForKids are available on-demand, including Soul Science Lab’s Soundtrack ’63 about the African-American experience in America and Celisse (Henderson).

New York City’s Metropolitan Opera Global Summer Camp is a free eight-week virtual camp for students to discover the world of opera. Each Monday, a teacher introduces campers to a new opera. (The weekly schedule is available at While all students view the same opera each week, they are divided into two age groups, ages 8-12 (Grades 3-6) and 12-18 (Grades 7-12). This assures that daily activities and discussions are at the appropriate level. There is an informative FAQ page for those who want to know more.

During the “lockdown,” the Kennedy Center’s Artist-in-Residence Mo Willems invited children into his studio to doodle together. The 15 episodes and downloadable activities are archived at Children are encouraged to tag their masterpieces #MoLunchDoodles on the social media replacement for the kitchen fridge.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan launched CMOM at Home at the beginning of the pandemic. There’s a different theme each day of the week—Magical Monday, Feel Good Friday, and Storytime Saturday—featuring videos and creative art projects designed to continue the learning long after. 

Every two weeks, the New York City-based Whitney Museum of Art launches a new Kids Art Challenge presenting a work in its collection and guiding the child through the process of creating a similar work. The Whitney Summer Studio, a six-week program of free 40-minute Zoom art classes, begins on July 6.

It’s not just American museums creating art activities for children. The Tate Museum in London, UK, has a site set aside for exploring and making, Tate Kids. Children can tour the collections and learn about artists and their works. There is “instruction” for painting and drawing, crafting with scissors and glue, sculpting, and coloring. The games and quizzes are designed to teach children about color and design.

If you’re running low on coloring books look no further than #Color Our Collections available for downloading and printing. The New York Academy of Medicine asked libraries and archives from around the world to share their coloring books and related materials, now accessible to all via links at With over 500 institutions from around the world contributing to the collection, there is bound to be something for the budding artist at your home. If you want to combine learning with this activity, try The Library of Virginia Coloring Book 2020 that tells the story of Women’s Suffrage in Virginia.

After all, we are a library
The great thing about online is that you needn’t rely on your local public library for storytime or the Summer Reading Program. Find a library that offers programs catered to your child’s interests:
• There are live storytimes each Tuesday and Singalongs each Thursday at 9:30AM on Muskego (WI) Public Library’s Facebook page and the library’s summer reading program can be accessed at
• The Los Gatos (California) Public Library offers storytime via Facebook; its summer reading program can be found at
Robert R. Jones Public Library in Coal Valley, IL, hosts Storytime with Ms. Angie featuring “Pete the Cat” every Thursday at 11AM Central/12PM EDT.
Pickens County (South Carolina) Library System uploads videos and craft projects for kids children from museums and libraries throughout the county each day, including storytime and summer reading.

Lest you think that Facebook is the only social media site used for storytime, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (Ohio) has a YouTube channel. In addition to its Virtual Storytime, the Brooklyn (NY) Public Library calendar of upcoming events features events for youth and family, including summer reading, exercise, virtual sign language, and English conversation (for those learning to speak English). You can find the full virtual programming calendar at

Publishers have taken up the challenge as well and there is no better example than the multiple options from HarperCollins. HarperKids from Home offers storytime with read-aloud activities each day at 12PM (EDT) and you can follow them on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. On Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2pm, the publisher offers Shelf Stuff, a home video series for children ages 7-12 is accessible via YouTube and Instagram. Virtual Epic Reads from favorite authors are posted each Friday at 4PM on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

The International Children’s Digital Library is a great place to find award-winning books for children of all ages, at all reading levels. Users can even browse for books by country. Click the dropdown menu to view books by language—there are 18, from Arabic to Thai. Pick out a title tonight and read it with your child!

Reading free ebooks while social distancing

Among other topics, our March 23 blog post, Finally, a Coronavirus-less message from your library! (, featured a how-to for finding eBooks in the NVCC library. There are resources for free ebooks that are not limited to NOVA students. For example, “HathiTrust is a not-for-profit collaborative of academic and research libraries” that have digitized more than 17 million items, including books that are out of copyright (

The Internet Archive’s ( Open Library ( allows ebooks to be borrowed as one would from a traditional library. Individuals can sign-up for free and then log in to search for the books they might wish to borrow.

One of the earliest sites for free ebooks, Project Gutenberg ( allows users to search for a specific title, browse the catalog, or limit by book category (e.g., classics, children’s books, crime, education, fine arts, geography, history religion, science, social sciences). In addition to English, there are bookshelves for books in German, French, Italian, and Portuguese.

Several sources exist for downloading PDFs of “the classics, ” including ManyBooks (, PDFBooksWorld ( and Feedbooks ( – Click “Public Domain” in the top navigation bar.

Two databases are a product of the OAPEN Foundation, a Netherlands-based not-for-profit organization: Directory of Open Access Books and the Open Access Publishing in European Networks
(OAPEN) Library.

• The Directory of Open Access Books ( strives to increase the discoverability of Open Access Books. It includes academic, peer-reviewed books, meaning that it limits its collection to open access publications that meet academic standards.

• The OAPEN Library ( is a collection of freely accessible academic books, primarily in the humanities and social sciences, developed under a 30-month grant, 2008-2010. During the grant period, OAPEN worked with publishers to build a quality-controlled collection of open access books and digitally preserve the content.


Our March 25 blog post, Working from home: wfh (, shared with you the good news that NOVA students have access to textbooks via VitalSource ( Another vendor, Red Shelf (, has negotiated with publishers to open their digital textbooks to college students. Use your NOVA email address to sign-up and you can access up to seven free ebooks, textbooks included, before May 25, 2020.

Your NOVA librarians are compiling a list of good reads. If you’re reading an interesting book, please let us know the title and why you think it’s a good book to recommend to others. We’ll add it to the list and share it in the NOVA community. Simply complete the form below.

National Emergency Library

The Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, has recently announced the  National Emergency Library, a collection of books that supports emergency remote teaching, research activities, independent scholarship, and intellectual stimulation while universities, schools, training centers, and libraries are closed. Learn more.

Signing up for an Internet Archive account is free and open to the world.  Please visit

Does the National Emergency Library have textbooks? They have older textbooks that have been donated from libraries, but not any recent materials.

If you need a textbook for your course, contact the NOVA Bookstore for information about the VitalSource digital textbook borrowing program.

Friday Fun

“Sometimes crying or laughing are the only options left, and laughing feels better right now.”
― Veronica Roth, American author

Nick Heath, a British sports commentator and journalist, has taken to commenting on ordinary people going about their daily activities in lieu of no live sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic…with hilarious results! View his twitter feed for more  @nickheathsports.