Harper Lee Through the Years

Harper Lee brought readers into fictional Maycomb, Alabama through the narration of a young girl named Scout. Lee’s brilliant story shed light on the topic of racial discrimination and class inequality during a time when these issues were growing, especially in the South. We don’t easily forget Scout and Harper Lee’s novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a piece of literature that has transcended generations. The American novelist we used to only know for her first book, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” excited readers everywhere when she released a second book, “Go Set a Watchman” in 2015.

Born on April 28 in 1926, Nelle Harper Lee lived a mostly private life. She didn’t give many interviews, but when she did, her words resonated. Though her health fluctuated over the years, she remained an active inspiration. She never married or had any children, but her literary contributions kept her busy. She had a sister Alice Lee who lived to 103 and died in 2014 as well as two other siblings who have also passed. Harper Lee passed away on Feb 19, 2016, and in remembrance of her, I wanted to create an infographic highlighting her major milestones.

Find more information on the life and legacy of Harper Lee in SIRS Renaissance, SIRS Discoverer, and eLibrary.

Do you have a favorite Harper Lee quote or excerpt? Comment in the space below or Tweet us at #ProQuest!

Health Care Reform in a New Era

Infographic Created by Jaclyn Rosansky via Piktochart

Health Care Reform is an excellent issue to bring up with your students for engaging classroom discussion. With Election 2016 coming fast around the corner, this is a campaign issue that impacts us all. We live in a changing world where the cost of health care is rising and the services offered may or may not meet our needs. Even with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, some of us still cannot afford health care. Health Care Reform is an issue that presidential candidates must address openly and honestly.

Let us shed light on 5 Health Care Reform viewpoints that should be explored and the ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher Leading Issues that cover these topics:

  1. Should there be more government involvement in health care in the U.S.?

    Our Leading Issue on Health Care Reform gets to the heart of this debate. Does more government involvement mean more insured citizens? Or does it mean a lower quality of care? What amount of government involvement is the right amount?

  2. Should health insurance cover treatments for mental health disorders?

    Our Leading Issue on Mental Health Insurance addresses a growing concern around the world, especially in the U.S. Is the cost to insure people with mental illness worth it for smaller employers? Should mental health coverage be expanded? With more and more people needing mental health services, why isn’t more being done to fulfill those needs?

  3. Should there be stricter federal regulation of the off-label use of prescription drugs?

    Our Leading Issue on Federal Regulation of Prescription Drugs pinpoints issues with the pharmaceutical industry. Does stricter regulation of prescription drugs protect patients or hurt them? When traditional treatments reach a limit, should patients be allowed to try experimental drugs?

  4. Should medical practices and decisions be regulated?

    Our Leading Issue on Medical Practice Regulation highlights the ethical practices of doctors and medical facilities. Can doctors make poor ethical decisions? Will stern regulation prevent it? Should patients and their families have more control than doctors when it comes to their quality of life and medical decisions?

  5. Should there be caps on pain and suffering awards in medical malpractice cases?

    Our Leading Issue on Medical Malpractice considers the financial impact of malpractice by doctors. Would a cap on medical malpractice lower health care costs? Would they increase medical negligence? How often do doctors worry about medical malpractice complaints?

In the Classroom

ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher brings these health care reform topics and others front and center with supporting articles selected by editors that represent all sides of these debates without bias. We research and curate each issue to bring you the best content including overviews, timelines, and statistics. Check our A-Z List for related health care related topics to discuss with your students.

Health Care Reform Leading Issue in ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

Health Care Reform Leading Issue in ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

On Social Media

Are you and your students discussing health care reform? We want to know! Leave a comment below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.


Join the Digital Learning Day Conversation on Feb. 17th 2016!

2016 is the fifth year since the inception of Digital Learning Day. This is a day to enhance the way students learn through technology. It’s a day to celebrate computers, apps, digital tools, devices, and the ways they’ve transformed education. The more comfortable students are with technology, the better prepared they will be for the future. This is also a day to have fun and learn something new. There are multiple ways you can join the digital learning day conversation. Bring ed-tech to your classroom or library and share the digital fun with everyone. Here are some ways you can get involved:

  1. Get on social media: 

    Twitter is an online social network perfect for spreading the Digital Learning Day message and sharing the ways you and your students are getting involved. @OfficialDLDay is the official Digital Learning Day Twitter account page and using the hashtag #DLDay will keep you connected with the latest postings.

  2. Visit the #EdTech Perspectives blog:

    The #EdTech Perspectives blog is located on the Digital Learning Day website. It is a curated blog and lists its contributors with their latest posts. Check out some of the archived posts and learn how Digital Learning Day is impacting educators, students and schools.

  3. Share online resources:

    The online resources page at the Digital Learning Day website provides a sampling of free digital tools that can benefit all types of learners. While there are many more ed-tech resources available online, this compilation is a good place to start.

  4. Try a new education app with your students:

    With an endless array of education apps to choose from, educators may become overwhelmed by which ones are the best ones for them. Helpful lists like the one at Shake Up Learning categorize some of the Google Chrome compatible options. The Digital Learning Day website contains a small list of apps that both students and educators may find useful. DailyGenius contains a list of the “best education apps for connected classrooms.”

How will you join the Digital Learning Day conversation? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.

Happy Birthday Lewis Carroll!

"Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, c. 1875." Photo credit: National Media Museum via Foter.com / No known copyright restrictions

“Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, c. 1875.” Photo credit: National Media Museum via Foter.com / No known copyright restrictions

Lewis Carroll was the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. The beloved creator of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass and other fantasy tales, has a birthday today (January 27, 1832). To celebrate Lewis Carroll, we wanted to share some of the things that made this children’s author and his work so unique:

He was also a mathematician who wove mathematical lessons into his stories.

This learning disability which hinders the ability to read didn’t seem to hinder Carroll’s writing talent.

He loved visiting the Oxford Museum of Natural History and many of the animals he saw there inspired the use of animals in his writing.

Lewis Carroll taught mathematics at Christ Church College at Oxford for years under the dean Henry Liddell. The fictional Alice was inspired by Liddell’s daughter Alice.

He contemplated a variety of book titles from Alice’s Hour in Elfland to Alice Among the Fairies.

John Tenniel, Lewis Carroll’s illustrator, made his illustrations on a wood-block before giving to an engraver to cut.

Both Carroll’s love for the Dodo Bird and his real name, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, inspired the Dodo in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

The book has also been translated into at least 100 languages including Classical Latin.

How will you celebrate the work of Lewis Carroll? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest!

5 Notable Library Philanthropists

"Library" via Pixabay [Public Domain]

“Library” via Pixabay [Public Domain]

The holidays are about giving back. Libraries are in the business of giving back year-round through resources, books, information and much more. While we appreciate our libraries and librarians for all their hard work, sometimes we want to do more. Not all of us may be able to donate large amounts of money to benefit libraries, but I wanted to highlight some philanthropists who did. Giving back to libraries goes beyond financial donations, and this could mean donating books or items, your time or resources or even ideas for the community. Let’s take a look at 5 philanthropists who made a difference for our libraries.

How do you give back to your local libraries? Tweet us at #ProQuest or leave a comment below!


Election Coverage with SIRS Issues Researcher!

We are about a year away from voting in the next our next president. This is a good time to learn all about important campaign issues and the potential presidential candidates. There are many resources available to do this, and ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher is a great place to start. Our Election 2016 Leading Issue can help you navigate the world of politics through editorially-selected articles in a format that offers both content and context. Critical thinking questions prompt students to go beyond the surface to examine issues. Election season is also a perfect time to start planning class debates.

What campaign issues will you focus on in your classroom? Do you have any suggestions on how to improve our coverage? Comment below or Tweet us at #ProQuest!

Book-Inspired Halloween Costumes

Halloween goes hand in hand with creativity. What better complement to creativity than making a Halloween costume inspired by your favorite books? In honor of all the wonderful works that have displayed in e-readers, sat atop nightstands and rested on bookshelves, I’m inviting you to get creative with a book-inspired Halloween costume this year.

So many of our favorite stories became our favorites because of memorable characters like the Mad Hatter in “Alice and Wonderland” or Mr. “Cat in the Hat” himself. Even comic book superheroes have become popular choices, keeping up with the classic nostalgia. Novels also pose great options, allowing you to think boldly and unconventionally. I know from watching my mom create handmade Halloween costumes for herself and my sister and I growing up that it doesn’t take much to make something that stands out. I’ve seen her transform into Pinocchio, the Mad Hatter, the Bride of Frankenstein, Thing 1 and countless others. All you need is an idea and an eye for replicating from your very own closet. If you don’t want to make your own, there are plenty of low-cost character costumes at your local shop waiting to be worn too. Dressing up in a Halloween costume isn’t just for kids and teens. It’s the perfect opportunity to express enthusiasm for beloved book villains and heroes. Here are a few book-inspired costume ideas that can be made easily and quickly. Happy Halloween!

Mad Hatter (Alice in Wonderland)

Photo of my mom as the Mad Hatter. (Credit: Jaclyn Rosansky)

Photo of my mom as the Mad Hatter. (Credit: Jaclyn Rosansky)

While you may think this costume is difficult and time-consuming to make, I can tell you this is not so. Last Halloween (2014), I helped my mom create this costume using only pieces from her closet. We used layering techniques in her clothing to get her the Mad Hatter look. She wore a bright blue pair of tube socks, a black top hat from a previous Halloween costume. And I did her makeup complete with orange eyebrows. How did I give her orange eyebrows, you ask? Eyelash glue, cotton balls, and temporary orange hair spray. I pulled apart cotton balls to create an eyebrow shape, sprayed them in the hair spray and after drying, glued them to her own eyebrows with the eyelash glue. The final result? A Mad Hatter costume that was both cheap and simple to make.

Cat Woman (Based off of the comic book)

Photo Credit: "Cat Woman 4" by Joe Colburn. nodomain1 / Foter / CC BY

Photo Credit: “Cat Woman 4” by Joe Colburn. nodomain1 / Foter / CC BY

Cat-inspired costumes are great because they don’t take much to make. Whether it’s Cat Woman or Cat in the Hat, all you need is some makeup, black clothing and possibly a few accessories. For this costume, a pair of black leggings, a black shirt and black heels or boots can give the look of this superhero. To make cat ears, an old wire hanger bent into the correct shape and a way to attach them could be a clever option. Even a headband with cardboard cat ear cut-outs attached could work. As for the black mask, you can find one at the local craft store or paint one directly on your face with makeup.


Photo of my mom as Pinocchio. (Credit: Jaclyn Rosansky)

Photo of my mom as Pinocchio. (Credit: Jaclyn Rosansky)

The main character of this childhood story was a puppet with a knack for lying. This is another costume my mom made one year, and I was impressed with how well she captured Pinocchio’s essence without spending much or devoting a ton of effort. Once again, my mom raided her closet and found red shorts, an appropriate shirt, and she made her own suspenders. Buttons and felt cut to size gave the right look. A piece of scrap fabric was used for her collar and eyeliner was used to draw on her puppet lines. For her nose? She attached two rubber finger protectors together and wore them on her nose. It still surprises me how well it stayed on!

What book-inspired Halloween costume will you make or wear this year? Share in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.

5 Ways in Which We Have “Leveled Up” at Libraries

Photo Credit: "Library." christian.senger / Foter / CC BY-SA

Photo Credit: “Library.” christian.senger / Foter / CC BY-SA

Libraries are endless sources of information and discovery. With the help of computers, libraries have transitioned beyond the days of just books. Librarians have evolved too, retaining knowledge about popular culture, current events, technology and more–ready to help guide patrons in their research sessions. Librarians are here to help. Whether it’s reading, navigating, writing, studying or researching, librarians have an arsenal of tools ready to share. Libraries offer so much more than they used to. This is five ways in which libraries have “leveled up” and kept up with the changing times.

Dewey to Digital

Remember Melvil Dewey? The man who created the Dewey Decimal System? This helpful book organization and classification system is still used today worldwide. The difference, however, is that you can also search for books and countless other library materials in an online catalog. Having a digital option helps locate items faster and even allows you to reserve items ahead of time. Because of the Internet, locating library items has never been easier.

Just Books to Beyond Books

Libraries, once praised for granting free access to books and other information consumption materials and media, are now praised for this and their wide array of unusual items, as highlighted in our post, “50 Things You Can Borrow from Libraries Besides Books.” Therapy dogs, games, ice cream machines and more are just some of the examples. Each library offers uniquely different options, and some pride themselves on just how unique their offerings are!

Strictly Studying to Center of Action

Librarians used to be the leaders in “Shushing.” Though libraries still try to keep a quiet atmosphere and patrons using their inside voices, the culture has changed. Libraries have become places for Makerspace tinkering, places to hold poetry readings, venues for events and much more. Library culture has evolved from strictly studying to being the center of the action and cool hangouts.

Free Advice to Free Services

Librarians harvest knowledge. They curate all the best tips and tidbits so that when someone asks, “Do you have any books on human beings?” a librarian can answer that. Librarians of today are so much more than providers of free advice. They can direct you to free services offered at the library too. Free literacy programs, classes, author readings, social events and much more are some services your library may offer.

Reference Access to Online Database Access

With the advent of technology, research has definitely leveled up. You can still find all your beloved reference books at the library, but it’s even better now. A visit to the library can mean access to a slew of other digital research tools. Next time you visit your library, check to see if our products are offered. ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher is just one tool that helps young researchers form debates, analyze social issues, write research papers and learn about the world all in one place. Open your mind with online databases and see where your research takes you!

How have you noticed libraries leveling up? Share in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.

50 Things You Can Borrow from Libraries Besides Books

When most people think of libraries, books come to mind — rows and rows of books as in the picture below. Some might add that you can also find newspapers and magazines — or even movies, audiobooks and music — at your library.


Picture of the interior of a library by jarmoluk [Public Domain] via Pixabay

But there’s more — a lot more — inside your library than you might think.

One of the things that impressed me about the library in the town where I grew up was that it was more than a place to check out a good book. One image in particular that stands out in my mind was my mother picking through grocery store coupons that the library maintained in a neat little row of boxes. Anyone was welcome to take whatever coupons they needed from the bins or leave any extra coupons they might have for sharing with others. I remember how appreciative my mom was and how that helped us stretch our food budget.

Thinking back on that image made me wonder what else – besides books and coupons – libraries offer to their patrons.

Are there any unusual items you can check out?

Curious, I decided to google libraries and strange and/or unusual things you can borrow. I came up with a list of more than 60 items, which made me think — as I’ve often thought of in the past — that libraries are really like the Doctor Who and his Tardis. As with the Tardis — that flying contraption used by the Doctor to travel across space and time in the BBC TV show, Doctor Who — libraries are bigger on the inside and full of all kinds of nifty things.

In my search, I found things, such as Santa Suits (Bolivar County Library System in Mississippi) and snowshoes (Baldwin Memorial Library in Wells River, Vermont). (As I write this, I am in Florida in summer. It is hot. Very hot.)

I even found libraries where you can check out actual people or even dogs!

After I showed my list to a colleague of mine, Jaclyn Rosansky, she offered to pair it down to a more manageable 50 and created the infographic below.

So, for all you librarians and library lovers out there, enjoy! And the next time you drive past a library, stop, go inside, and explore because it — like the Tardis — offers much more on the inside than you might expect.

National Aviation Day Activities

"Airplane." Photo credit: muffinman71xx / Foter / CC BY-SA

“Airplane.” Photo credit: muffinman71xx / Foter / CC BY-SA

Today is National Aviation Day, established in 1939 on Orville Wright’s birthday. Orville Wright was an American inventor credited with creating the first successful airplane with his brother Wilbur. The advances made in aviation since then have led to widespread international travel and exploration in outer space. NASA has also been able to benefit the U.S. through continued research in aeronautics. Flight has proven to be one of the most amazing discoveries of the modern world and will continue to expand into the future. Aviation advances are limitless in the eyes of tomorrow’s pilots. To celebrate National Aviation Day, we’ve compiled some activity suggestions that are intended to get you flying in the right direction!

Soak Up Some Aviation History

Aviation Search Box Screencap via ProQuest SIRS WebSelect

Aviation Search Box Screencap via ProQuest SIRS WebSelect

A great starting point for aviation history is ProQuest SIRS WebSelect. Here you will find editorially-selected websites that can be used in research, to complement lessons and as a basis for learning more about the history of flight. This resource is perfect for back-to-school planning. Some key selections include:

Head to an Aviation Museum

Aviation museums are a nice way to explore aviation history. Each museum is designed differently and allows visitors a unique experience every time. These museums can be found in the U.S. and abroad. The National Museum of the United States Air Force in Ohio is considered to be the world’s largest and oldest military aviation museum. A list of the world’s best aviation museums can be found through the CNN article “World’s 14 Best Aviation Museums.”

Build an Airplane

A fun way to engage with flight and invention is by making your own paper airplane. Trying different types of designs and folding techniques can get you excited about this pastime and remind you that it’s still ok to channel your inner child. This could even be an activity you share with your own children or students. Once everyone is up to speed, you could hold a paper airplane contest to see whose creation flies the farthest. Check out this Smithsonian.com article “How to Fold a World Record-Setting Paper Airplane” to help guide your design and execution.

Watch Airplanes at the Airport

A special but rare find at airports these days are observation decks. If you’re lucky enough to live in a city whose airport has one, you may want to make a visit this summer. Since airport security is quite tight now, having the opportunity to watch the airplanes go by can really feel like a treat. The next time you plan a trip by plane, consider including time to sit at an observation deck and really take in all it has to offer. They may not be around forever.

Thank a Pilot After Your Next Trip

Summer is a popular time of year to plan our vacations and travels. Each time we make the decision to board a plane, we hope for safe travels and arrivals. If you’re going to be traveling by plane soon, consider thanking your pilot. You could write a personalized thank you note while on board and hand deliver it to your pilot, contact your airline and provide positive feedback about your experience or recognize your favorite pilot on social media. Sometimes it’s nice to show them your appreciation and it probably makes their job that much more rewarding too.

How will you celebrate National Aviation Day? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us at #ProQuest.