Adult Learning Center Now Available

Our newest addition to the Brainfuse HelpNow suite is the Adult Learning Center. Adult Learning Center

The Adult Learning Center has been specially designed for the needs of  adults. The Adult Learning Center offers test preparation (including the GED and the USCIS citizenship test), and a unique academic skills center featuring live, online tutors.  The Adult Learning Center consists of the following services:

  • LIVE ACADEMIC TUTORING: Adult learners who need help with an assignment in class or need academic support for any other reason can connect with a live HelpNow tutor through an online classroom that has been completely specially redesigned for adult patrons. Tutors are trained to not simply provide answers but to help Patrons master underlying academic concepts.
  • LIVE SKILLS TUTORING: skills building service draws upon the successful skills building model of our K-12 HelpNow service but has been completely redesigned for adult learners who want to go beyond basic homework help to master an academic skill.

  • WRITING ASSISTANCE: The Adult Learning Center offers both live writing assistance and an intensive writing lab to help you produce business letters, term papers, job resumes, or any other piece of writing:

  • TEST CENTER: The Adult Test Center provides 24-hour access to an ever-expanding library of tests designed for adult learners, including academic skills-assessments, GED tests, and unique U.S. Citizenship Test course, consisting of sample tests and a full audio tutorial.  After completing one of our online assessments, you instantly receive your results, broken down by specific skill sets that can be shared with a HelpNow tutor for targeted skills building.

  • 24/7 QUESTION CENTER: The 24/7 Question Center is ideal for patrons who have questions outside of service hours or who require a detailed, structured explanation of a difficult academic concept. Simply submit your question (and even attach supporting documents) and you will get a respond within 24 hours.

Monthly Events/Holidays October

Columbus Day
Source: Embassy of the United States of America
There is still controversy over who “discovered” America, but certainly over 500 years ago Christopher Columbus undertook a voyage that marked modern Europe’s engagement with the American continents. This site discusses that historic voyage and the American holiday that commemorates it.

Halloween: The Fantasy and Folklore of All Hallows
Source: Library of Congress (LOC)
“Halloween had its beginnings in an ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of the dead. The Celtic peoples, who were once found all over Europe, divided the year by four major holidays” (LOC) This page contains a brief history of Halloween and the origins of some holiday traditions. (Also see the upcoming article on October 5 about the History of Halloween)

El Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead (also known as All Soul’s Day), is an important holiday to Mexican and Hispanic-American communities in the United States. Celebrated from October 31 to November 2, the Day of the Dead honors ancestors and loved ones who have died. Families create altars, called “ofrendas,” to honor the deceased. Find more information in SIRS Knowledge Source.

Honoring Hispanic Americans

National Hispanic Awareness Month is an annual celebration of the culture, traditions, achievements and heritage of Hispanic Americans.

National Hispanic Awareness Month is held annually from September 15 to October 15 in honor of the anniversary of several Latin American nations’ independence. The monthly commemoration was created as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 and expanded to a month-long observance in 1988. Hispanic Americans, the largest minority group in the United States, play a prominent role in all facets of American society and culture.

Not only have Hispanic Americans shaped popular culture, but their increasing representation in government and media highlights their larger influence on American life. The October SIRS Knowledge Spotlight of the Month commemorates the myriad contributions of Hispanic Americans and emphasizes the diversity of Hispanic culture in the United States.

Learn more about notable Hispanic Americans and trace Hispanic culture’s unique impact on the American experience in the following SIRS articles and online destinations:


1. Latinos, Hispanics or What?

2. Latinas and the 2008 Presidential Election

3. Some US Hispanics Trace Their Jewish Roots

4. Hispanic Women in America: The Demographic Picture

5. One-In-Five Speak Spanish in Four States

6. U.S. Schools Adjust to Growing Hispanic Population


Periscope: Hispanic Heritage Month

Student Activities & Teacher Resources

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage!


“Every school child should know that the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the United States is St. Augustine, Florida (founded in 1565) and that Hispanic culture had a firm root in the Southeast and the Southwest of what became the United States before the English arrived at Jamestown and before the Pilgrims dropped anchor in Massachusetts Bay… [T]he Spanish, Hispanicized Africans and Amerindians and their mixed-blood descendants provided the basis for the development of much of American agriculture, mining, transportation grid, city planning, architecture and even law in the Southeast and Southwest. For example, such concepts as the right of women to inherit and own property, homestead rights, and the rights of adopted children to be treated the same as genetic offspring are examples of originally Hispanic legal principles that touch us today in the very heart of our existence: our families.”
America: The Last 100 Years,” Hispanic, Dec 1999

SIRS Knowledge Source Read more articles from our Spotlights by logging on to our SIRS Knowledge Source® feature page. (Hispanic Americans available during the month of october 2009)

Narrators make the Difference!

Guest blogger Cynthia Orr discusses finding that perfect narrator in her monthly blog post.

If you’re an audiobook fan, you know that the quality of the narrator makes a huge difference in your experience of the book. A mispronounced word or name can jolt you right out of the story, while an authentic foreign accent can enhance the work and might even make it better than reading it yourself. Some kinds of books like poetry or magical realism arguably work best of all when spoken aloud.

So the narrator of an audiobook is hugely important. But how do you find your favorites? It’s easy. In the eBooks To Go catalog just enter the narrator’s name in the search box and select Creator from the drop down box and you’ll be on your way.

Who are the best narrators? Here’s my personal list as a starting place.

  • Tim Curry
  • Jim Dale
  • George Guidall
  • Garrison Keillor
  • John Lithgow
  • Frank Muller
  • Simon Prebble
  • Barbara Rosenblat
  • Lynne Thigpen

Who else would you nominate? We’d really like to know.

You can use the Audiofile Magazine Hall of Fame to help jog your memory.

The Thomas Registry

One of the best sources for the reference librarian is the Thomas Registry. Now known as ThomasNet, this database is a wealth of information for the decision makers of small and medium sized manufacturing firms.

First known as the “Big Green Books” , ThomasNet is a directory of 650,000 manufacturers and distributors and service companies within 67,000+ industrial categories. It can not only assist in product and company information, but contains online catalogs, white papers, computer-aided design drawings, news, press, releases, forums and blogs.

ThomasNet offers a complete online sales strategy, backed by 110 years of industrial marketing expertise, for those interested in defining themselves from the rest in the online marketplace. It is possibe to create a 24/7 online sales channel for a business and promote it where industrial buyers can find you. This can be done with one simple web-based application, with no software to license or buy and no training or implementation cost.

The Purchasing Tools allows a small or medium sized business to make the buying process easier by initiating and tracking proposals, quotes and bids in one place with RFP Manager. Then, with Contract Manager, one can receive instant access to terms and agreements and recieve alerts allowing time to assess your current contracts before just “signing on the dotted line” without having the opportunity to strategize first. All of these things can be executed safely and securely with a read only feature for colleagues and legal personnel.

The Tools and Gadgets Center is loaded with desk-top applications to make the job easier. Download ThomasNet toobox for assistance with presentations, papers, and web pages. Download ThomasNet search button for sourcing. All you need is Google toolbar.

Under the Need-to Know-Guides, ground level information can be found that allows one to make informed sourcing decisions. A collection of primers, briefs, articles, and guides, each resource category gives one a storehouse of information. Whether one is  trying to learn the basics of a specific manufacturing process or trying to make a decision about equipment or vendors, the Need-to Know-Guides provide key access to industry information which can be browsed by category.

Millions of 2D and 3D computer assisted design drawings can be accessed and are well organized by business category. Updates are regularly posted and thereis a section on CAD News.

MyThomas is an additional resource which assists in organizing information from ThomasNet and other favorite websites. Registration creates a MyThomas profile which allows access to the purchasing tools.

Join the Community at ThomasNet puts decision makers in touch with others like them in online forum where one can get real answers for a specific industry. One can communicate with industry giants and gurus here.

There are thousands of product catalogs which are searchable by keyword and part number. They are organized by product type and company.

Today’s Alerts posts the latest new products news from global manufacturers, as well as industry trends. It is archived by year and has a blogroll with many business and industry links where one can always stay informed.