Back to School

Back to School bannerWell, we’ve done it. As this article comes out, students will have finished up the first week of school. We can all take a – very small – sigh of relief that we got through it. Whether or not you are a parent, having kids in our community go back to school in pandemic times is a bit stressful for everyone. To get us to where we are now, hard decisions have been made. Schools and teachers have been working so hard trying to figure out strategies for keeping everyone as safe as possible. Parents have had to choose between online learning, in school learning or homeschooling options. Grandparents have to decide if they need to distance from their children and grandchildren again. We’re all a bit on edge – these are important life decisions. But now that school is in, we can cross our fingers and hope that things get somewhat back to normal for students.

Staff at Thunder Bay Public library have been thinking about the ways that we can support this challenging and exciting transition back to learning. If you haven’t yet seen it on our Facebook page, one of our wonderful library technicians recently interviewed an experienced homeschooling parent about what’s involved and what to expect when homeschooling a child.  It’s a great resource for any parent starting out on a homeschooling journey for the first time.  Search through our Facebook page @tbaypl for the link.

Whether your child will be learning in class or at home, we have lots of resources available both electronically and in hard copy format that can support their learning journey.

tumblebooks logoFor young children, take a look at TumbleBooks. It’s one of our online databases geared towards young readers. There are story books, graphic novels, and nonfiction. All are narrated and words are highlighted as they are read, to add a literacy component. The options here are great for all levels of young readers, including some excellent support for struggling readers. It’s an amazingly rich and diverse repository and can support your child’s love of recreational reading of all kinds. The non-fiction materials can also help support school learning projects for young children with diverse subjects such as insects, animals, geography, science and biographies.

For children in the middle school age range, Kids Infobits and Encyclopedia Britannica can be great choices for accessing age appropriate research material for school projects and at home learning. The scope of topics is impressive and it’s formatted in a way that is engaging and accessible for children. These resources are also available electronically and can be accessed through our website in our database collection.

We also have a number of databases that would be excellent for supporting and supplementing the resources already available to high school and college/university students. For example, Biography In Context provides relevant and unique information on key contemporary and historical figures and contextualizes their story into the bigger picture through links to reputable news articles and other outside sources.

Besides our comprehensive database collection such as the ones mentioned above, we also have all of your recreational reading needs covered. As always, Ebooks and Eaudiobooks are accessible online through Cloud Library. You can also place holds on physical collection items and pick them up at any of our four library locations. All you have to do is browse our online catalogue for titles you want to borrow and then place a hold through your account on our website, or give us a call at (807) 345-8275 and we can help you place the hold.

Whatever your learning and resource needs are for back to school, please remember that the Library is here for you. If you need help accessing any of our resources, or if you need a library card to get started, send us an email at and we’ll help you out.

Happy learning!

Jocelyn Knoester – If you have a comment about today’s column, we would love to hear from you.

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