Abilene Public Library has great online resources, and the citizens of Abilene have apparently enjoyed having them during the month of April! Our digital circulation has far surpassed any other month in our history, with more than 23 thousand circulations - that comes out to some 771 items checked out every day. We are very happy we have been able to help support your entertainment and knowledge needs during our time of social distancing and closures.
My columns have, in the last month or so, been highlighting the online resources we have available for card holders. However, there are a few I haven’t mentioned yet that you will certainly want to know about in this time of COVID-19. All are accessible from our website, www.abilenetx.gov/apl in the eResources section, with your current library card.
If the crazy behavior of the stock market and investments has had you bothered recently, you may be watching your savings and retirement money a little more closely. In that case, our Morningstar Investment Research Center provides a one-stop database for receiving information and help on investments. It has information on New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange, and NASDAQ stocks, as well as companies, funds, exchange-traded funds, markets, and portfolios. Whether you know a company’s stock ticker or want to search by name, you can do so. An easy to use help and education center can help you get the most up-to-date financial information.
Lots of folks are using their ‘down’ time right now trying new things, or picking up interests they don’t usually have time to pursue. Genealogy may be one of those for you - a personalization of history as you trace your family tree back. Perhaps you might be interested in learning about members of your family who were alive during the last pandemic in 1918 - if so, HeritageQuest is your ticket. This comprehensive resource contains over 700 million records from the U.S. Federal Census 1790-1940, books, military records. records from the Freedman’s Bureau, city directories and more.
Another interesting historical database is the collection of Digital Sanborn Maps, 1867–1970. The Sanborn Map Company was the primary American publisher of fire insurance maps for nearly 100 years. The maps provide a wealth of information, such as building outline, size and shape. Drawn at a scale of 50 feet to an inch, they were created to assist insurance companies as they assessed the risk associated with insuring a particular property. The maps list street blocks and building numbers including numbers in use at the time the map was made and previous numbers. We have access to the Texas maps, which cover hundreds of Texas towns, including, of course, Abilene. This is a fascinating database to browse if you love history.
Texas Legal Forms allows you to access free current legal forms for Texas that can be downloaded, completed online, or printed out. It is searchable by categories and includes forms for divorce, wills, bankruptcy, power of attorney, and more. The database also has legal definitions, a limited directory of lawyers, legal articles on various topics and more.
Please don’t forget that if you don’t yet have an Abilene Public Library card, we can issue you one over the phone and when we reopen, you can come in and get your physical card. We are here to answer your questions and help with reference questions Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Article Contributed by Janis C. Test, Information Services Manager, Main Library