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A Database a Day

Couple using computer

You have surely heard someone say, “An apple a day will keep the doctor away.” We all know good nutrition and physical exercise are very important to our health, but more recently we have been reading about the value of exercising our minds to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Some of the phrases that are being used include staying cognitively active, participating in social engagement, etc.

Fortunately, our library system is here to help us keep our brains in tip-top shape. The library subscribes to dozens of databases that contain a gold mine of intellectually-stimulating information and activities. I challenge you to visit at least one of our databases a day for a month. I believe that, at the end of that month, you will be hooked on databases. To see what we have available, go to www.metrolibrary.org and click on Research. You will be taken to an alphabetical listing of databases.

Access Video On Demand

Most people do enjoy watching a little television now and then, but it is getting harder and harder to find anything worthwhile to watch. Some people cannot afford cable, and that adds to the problem. Our library has stepped in to help us out by subscribing to a database called Access Video On Demand where we can watch videos from dozens of national and international news and education sources that cover such topics as business, geography, health and wellness, history, science, and more. The videos are divided into 35 broad subjects that you can browse, or you can do a keyword search for narrower subjects that might appeal to you. I enjoyed a video called Knife Skills. No, it wasn’t about knife throwing, but about the best ways to pare and slice fruits and vegetables. Now I can prepare a bell pepper in seconds instead of minutes.

Mango Languages

According to a news article from National Geographic, even if you don’t learn a second language until after middle age, learning one can still help stave off dementia. Certainly, joining a language class would include the benefits of social engagement, but if you can’t or don’t want to do that, you can still learn new languages using the library’s Mango Languages database. Mango lets you choose from 71 different languages and takes you, step-by-step, through the lessons. You might want to try Spanish, French, or German, or you might be interested in learning Pirate, so you can play pirate games with your grandchildren.

NoveList Plus

When I read an article about preventing dementia, one of the activities that is almost always mentioned is reading. Most people enjoy reading, but it is sometimes difficult to decide either which books to read or in what order to read them. Get up close and personal with NoveList Plus, and you won’t have that difficulty any more. You can search for books by author, title, keyword, and series. If your search brings up an item in a series, you can click the series link in the book summary, and it will bring up all the books in the series in the order in which you should read them. NoveList Plus will also show a list of books that are similar to the one you have chosen. It has a host of other helpful readers-advisory offerings. It is my most-frequently consulted database for helping customers find something to read, and I use it from home as well.

Hobbies & Crafts

Pursuing a hobby is another activity that can be beneficial to your brain, and we also have a database for that. Hobbies & Crafts is full of ideas, instruction, and articles about almost every kind of hobby you can imagine. Granted, some of the outdoor hobbies are more for the young and the careless, but others are suitable for one’s more careful years. You might like to try geocaching, bird watching, camping, gardening, or photography. The more traditional hobbies, such as needlecrafts, art, music and dancing are also well represented. This database gives you access to a whole library of articles from books, magazines, and other sources. Click on Indoor Recreation and then Social Games to see almost 5,000 articles about playing games. I was especially interested in the cooperative games versus competitive games. They sound like just what the doctor ordered.

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