3 Ways to Make Back-to-School a Snap 

By Melinda Casilli,  Haymarket Gainesville Community Library

Some years ago, Staples came out with a hysterical commercial for back to school shopping. It featured the classic Christmas carol, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and epitomized the feelings of millions of parents across the country. As the lyrics played, a dad joyfully danced down the aisle of a Staples store pushing a cart. He would randomly grab school supplies and toss them into the cart, twirling around while his children watched with very sad faces. Obviously, the kids didn’t share their dad’s enthusiasm for the start of a new school year. 

I am like the dad in the commercial. Although I’ve never danced down the aisle of a store looking for supplies, I am happy when the school year starts every August. It’s nice to get back into a routine and our lives have structure once again. However, I do get anxious about the homework. 


As my kids have gotten older, their homework has gotten more intense. When they need more help than I can offer, I direct them to the Prince William Public Library website, www.pwcgov.org/library. Specifically, the Digital Library has many resources that can assist them with their homework. There is an actual Homework tab with 23 websites, including Access Video on Demand, JSTOR, Lynda.com, Scholastic Go!, and the World Almanac for Kids Online. 

To access the Digital Library, go to www.pwcgov.org/library, scroll down to the green squares, and click on the second square titled Digital Library. From there, scroll down to the blue navigation bar and click on the word Homework. The list of the 23 databases will appear. Click on the name of the database to be taken directly to the site. To gain full access to each site, you will need your library card number and password. In addition to Homework, on this blue navigation bar is also a category for Learn. If you click on it, a variety of sites will pop up including EBSCOhost and the different collections they offer, Testing and Education Reference Center, and Pronunciator, to name a few. These sites have awesome information on a large variety of topics and different age ranges. 


Does your student need one of the classics for Language Arts Class? The library has you covered. These can be placed on hold if it isn’t found on the shelf of your local library. Go to www.pwcgov.org/library, scroll down to the green squares, and click on the third square marked Books, Catalog, and More. Then click on the blue button marked Catalog Search, and search by title or author. When the item is pulled up, on the right side will be a “Place Request” button: Just click on this and you will be prompted to enter in your library card number and password. Verify the library where you would like to pick up your hold and make sure to click “Submit Request.” You will receive an email when it’s available to be picked up. It can be found on the hold shelf at the branch you specified when placing the hold. Items will be held for seven days. 


Does your student need a place to study or work with a tutor? Chinn Park, Haymarket Gainesville, and Montclair have group study rooms. These rooms can be reserved for two hours. There are limits on the minimum and maximum number of people allowed in each room. It’s best to look on the website for these specifications before making a reservation to make sure the room you’re reserving can accommodate the size of your group. 

Whether your student needs homework help, a classic, or a place to study, Prince William Public Library System has you covered!

Prince William Public Library Staff
About Prince William Public Library Staff 30 Articles
For more information on the Prince William County Public Library, please visit their website or call 703-792-6000.

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