Determine the topic you would like to explore and identify the kind of information you would like to know about it. You can explore from the comfort of your home or you can meet with a librarian to determine your best plan for learning more.
Determine All the Ways You Can Obtain Information
- Determine the ways you prefer to learn about this topic: books, articles, videos, in person, etc.
- Search the library catalog for materials the System owns on the topic. Place holds on any material your hometown library doesn’t have.
- Search library databases for relevant articles on your topic.
- Do an internet search for information on your topic. Especially look for great how-to videos on Youtube and other sites.
- Find ways you can learn about your topic in person through library programs, community events, talking with a local expert, find groups that meet on the topic, etc.
Evaluate the Information
Evaluate the information you find by judging the sources:
- Authority – Who is the author and what are their credentials? What kind of website is it, .org, .com, .gov?
- Accuracy – Can factual information be verified through references or credible sources?
- Currency – When was the information first published? It could be out-of-date information that is now proven inaccurate with more current works.
- Objectivity – What kind of advertising is on the webpage? Is the material biased, being presented by one political party, religious group, etc? Is the source clear and forthcoming about its view on the subject?
- Coverage – Is the site complete or still under construction? Does the source support other things you’ve found on the topic? Does the site constantly change information?
- Purpose and Audience – Why is the information being presented? Who is the audience intended to be? What is fact and what is opinion?
Organize and Review the Information
Organize the information you have found and begin using it by reading, scanning, watching the videos, listening to the audio books, etc. As you delve into your information, evaluate if you are finding what you wanted or if you need to take a different approach in your exploration. Adapt as needed.
Begin Applying Your Knowledge
Begin practicing what you have learned and applying it to your life. As you continue to learn about it consider finding others in your community who are learning similar skills and engaging with them through performances, group meetings, online communities, etc.
Check out our new Pioneer Library System Connect app! With your library card number and 4-digit PIN you'll be able to:
- Search for Print & eBooks;
- Place holds on Print & eBooks;
- Retrieve eBooks that are ready for download;
- Using OverDrive® Read technology, open & read eBooks directly in the PLS Connect app;
- Renew Print & eBooks, that are eligible for renewal;
- Return eBooks before the expiration date;
- Easily get program & event information for your library.
As always, if you don't see the resources for the particular goal you have in mind, your hometown librarian will be happy to help!