Friday we went to Border's for a snack to celebrate the kids' good report cards, and we used their computer system to look for books for DS1's school report on gila monsters. I type the following keywords into the search box: desert animals children, looking for a children's reference on desert animals. A half-dozen books come up, and we find some on the shelves, but they only make passing reference to gila monsters. DS1 says, "Mom, I want to try something," and goes over to the computer and types gila monster in the search box.
Sometimes I am too "smart" to see that the direct route is best!
One title pops up to the top, but it is not in stock. (Gila Monster Facts and Folklore of America's Aztec Lizard by Davide E. Brown and Neil B. Carmony) It's OK, we'll look it up at Amazon and see how good a book it is. I love Amazon's reviews, even though I know they are far from objective, you can still get a good feeling for a book, usually. The book seems like it will be a great reference, but it's more than $10, and I think, we don't really need to own this book, do we?
It will have to be the library, then! I haven't been there since 1998. (whoa) Now, of course, it has a coffee bar; back then, it didn't. Hmmm.
In an excellent use of technology, the library's entire catalog may be searched online. Huzzah! They have four copies of the book available.
So, Saturday afternoon, DS1 and I went and got new library cards (mine had died from neglect), and got the catalog number of the book, found it in the stacks, and checked it out using the automated system.
The book is not a children's reference book, but is a lively read and I've enjoyed leafing through it. I think it would be a tough slog for DS1 to sit and read it, cover to cover, but he doesn't need to do that. This is for research, he just needs to find the facts he needs for his report, and this book will be terrific for that. If you want to know anything about gila monsters, this is a great resouce.