The school year at Palo Alto High School is finally falling into full swing—and bringing with it lots of work. To give students a helping hand, the Paly library provides an array of resources such as free subscriptions to The New York Times, iPad and Kindle checkouts, software downloads and access to educational online databases.
However, many Paly students are unaware of the multitude of convenient resources.
“I haven’t gone to the library much in my years at Paly, so I don’t know much about the library resources,” junior Leah Benque said. “I know that there are available Kindles and magazines, and obviously books from all different genres, but apart from that, I don’t know much.”
Read on for a description Paly’s student resources and how you can start to use them.
According to librarian Rachel Kellerman, the library is creating a new way to search all resources at once with an upcoming system called “Smart Search.”
According to the Smart Search informational document, it allows students “to conduct a simple keyword search that results in information from a wide variety of high-quality databases and e-book collections. Books located in the student’s school library will also appear in Smart Search results.”
Kellerman hopes to implement Smart Search at Paly and Gunn High School in the near future.
New York Times
Paly offers students a full subscription to the New York Times website, according to librarian Sima Thomas. All current news and archived news is accessible for free on the library’s computers and is also available on students’ personal laptops and phones.
“The New York Times is a nice resource because it kinda crosses over from being … helpful for academics, but also great for just personal use,” Thomas said. “It’s a nice, reliable news source.”
To create a New York Times account, students will need to access a special link found on the Paly Library website. This process can only be completed on campus computers. In addition, a group pass allows for continued access to the New York Times at home. The pass is valid for a year and can be renewed. While it is called a group pass, the login and password is unique for each student user.
According to Thomas, Paly library has access to 500 passes, about 120 of which are currently being used.
According to Digital Design and Business Law teacher Patrick O’Hara, Paly offers Microsoft Office, a set of software applications with components such as PowerPoint, Excel and Word. Microsoft Office is available on every desktop and laptop computer on the Paly campus.
To download applications on their own devices, students must log in with their school email through this link.
Kindles and iPads
Paly has Kindles and iPads available for checkout at the library front desk. While iPads are mostly reserved for those who wish to listen to an audiobook, Kindles are open for any student to enjoy.
“If a student needs an audiobook and wants to listen, Overdrive has a number of [hearing] aid books you can check out,” Thomas said.
Books downloaded from Overdrive can be read on personal Kindles and iPads.
Academic Resource Center
The Academic Resource Center is available for any student who would like tutoring from peers. There is no cost for tutoring services, and almost any Paly student can sign up to be a tutor. In addition, students can access a large amount of of textbooks. The ARC is located in the same building as the library and faces the 700s classrooms.
Overdrive and eBooks
Digital distributor Overdrive offers a wide selection of eBooks, according to Thomas.
“Overdrive is also a really underused resource for any student who’s interested in or already enjoys reading digital books or ebooks,” Thomas said. “We have what’s called a digital library … it’s library books but they are ebooks so you can … download the Overdrive app onto your phone or smart device, and you can actually read the book right on your phone or smart device.”
Students without a smart device can borrow the book in their browser and then download the book onto their reader.
According to Thomas, a link on the Paly library website directs to Overdrive. Students can then sign in with the 14 digit code on their student body card and select an online eBook to check out. Checked out books can be read immediately.
Paly library offers a variety of digital databases, including Advanced Placement Source and Points of View.
Links to databases can be found through the Paly Library webpage. Databases can be accessed on Paly campus without a password. To be used at home, students must log in to my.pausd.org before accessing the site.
Advanced Placement Source
AP Source is a reliable online database available to all Paly students, according to Kellerman. Material found in this database may be especially helpful for Advanced Placement courses.
“Colleges and universities require students to use journals in their research, so we want every Paly student to have experience using them,” Kellerman said. “One of our big goals with regards to research is to have students practice using research ‘tools’ so when they have a big assignment at Paly or in the future they will be confident and quick researchers.”
Points of View
According to Kellerman, Points of View is a database that contains articles from a wide variety of perspectives. Topics include marriage equality and the legalization of drugs, to list a few.
“It’s a great resource for any projects having to do with writing arguments, editorials, debates, etc.,” Kellerman said.
Adobe is a company that focuses on photography, graphical and video editing. Popular applications include Photoshop, Lightroom and Illustrator.
Library computers all have Adobe software available for student use.
In addition to the lesser known resources, the library offers textbooks and a computer lab that can be used during school hours.
Questions regarding databases, New York Times subscription, and checkouts can be found at the front desk of the Paly Library. Technology information can be found from Assistant Principal Adam Paulson.
“It’s nice to be able to have [resources] so you can go and use them if you ever needed to,” junior Eric Neuman said. “I’ve been pretty satisfied with all the things they’ve been able to supply to people. I think [Paly administrators] are doing a good job of that.”