searchingBetween the books, encyclopedias and other materials that fill our shelves, we can help you learn about what you want to know.  But many people don’t realize that we can also help with navigating the internet.  Everyone knows how to Google (heck, it’s a common verb these days), but Googling doesn’t guarantee that you’ll find answers.  There’s so MUCH information and it can be frustrating to figure out which sites are trustworthy and which are a waste of time. And when you’re looking for local information, basic search engines often disappoint.

We are here to help! Just as we carefully chose the materials that go on our shelves, we also thoughtfully consider the information that we link to on our website.  Here are a few of our favorite links for Marylanders that you might not know about.

1.  AskUsNow! – This 24/7 online reference chat  is one of the handiest services ever, and it’s completely free for all Marylanders. Simply choose your library and type in your question. It could be simple (like a phone number you can’t find) or a complex question about finding sources for a research paper. Whatever your question, the service is fast, easy to use, and the friendly librarians will help you find quality info you can trust. There are even special hours when you can chat with law librarians about legal questions.

2. Maryland Community Services Locator – This searchable site beats Google hands down when it comes to locating services in our area like substance abuse treatment centers, homeless shelters, food assistance, resources for senior citizens and more. It’s simple to use and you can tailor the search to show locations near you – the results include phone numbers, addresses, maps and directions.

3. Marina – If your local library doesn’t have the book you’re looking for, you can probably use this service to borrow it from another library elsewhere in the state of Maryland.  Libraries statewide share a large portion of their materials and Maryland library card holders can borrow from other systems in the state–for free!  You can request materials yourself, but we’re also always happy to help you, particularly if you can’t find the book you want.

4. Maryland Insurance Administration – There are few things in life more confusing than insurance, but there’s a whole agency to help Marylanders figure out insurance of all types – health, home, life and more.  The MIA helps consumers learn about coverage and can even help if you have a complaint about how your insurance company responded to a claim. If you had damage from the recent hurricane, their website has a wealth of helpful info about contacting your insurance company, dealing with storm damage, handling mold remediation and much more.

Whatever you’re searching for, don’t hesitate to ask for our help. For more great links to quality information, try our community information and Maryland links. What are your top sites for local info?

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