If the virtual Austin Public Library isn’t already your best friend, it soon will be.

Blair Parsons and Maggie Bond, reference librarians with APL, dove deep into the library’s digital resources at July’s Freelance Austin meeting in our new digs, Vessel Coworking. (More on Vessel below.)

Full-text Articles

How many times have you searched online for a published article, only to reach a point where you have to pay a hefty fee for a copy? Never again!

The virtual library gives you access to much more information than Google ever could. For example:

In Databases By Title or Subject, you’ll find:

  • Academic Search Complete – Search thousands of scholarly full-text journals.
  • eBooks from EBSCOhost – Locate technical tomes as well as books to read for pleasure.
  • Austin American Statesman and Austin American Statesman Historical – Find recent and archived editions of Austin’s largest newspaper.
  • JSTOR – Get better results by searching within a subgroup of journals. For example, by searching for “labor law” under the specific topic “Labor and Employment Relations,” you’ll retrieve more relevant results than by searching the entire JSTOR database.

When you need detailed information or data for context – for example, the percentage of individuals within a specific income range in certain ZIP codes who share an interest – AtoZdatabases provides access to a directory and marketing database that includes searchable data on 30 million businesses and 220 million residences. You can determine employment and revenue trends, median incomes of neighborhoods, compare SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) codes and much more.

And forget Bloomberg – the virtual Austin Public Library is the best place to find what Parsons and Bond called “intense information” on companies. Business Insights: Essentials provides:

  • market share reports and financial statements
  • industry essays (more detailed than wiki pages)
  • revenue comparisons within industries
  • investment reports (comparable to Bloomberg)

Simply enter your library card number at library.austintexas.gov to get free and full access to all these databases and more. And here’s a secret: While the library currently puts a two-hour limit on your daily online access, you can get more time being onsite. Just ask a reference librarian for a work-study computer and ask for an extension.

New Central Library Opening Soon

Officials are hoping to open the new Austin Public Library downtown this fall. Though it looks finished on the outside, work continues inside; as of the meeting date, neither books nor non-approved humans were allowed inside. On Lady Bird Lake, the new site will include an amphitheater, bike parking, reading porches, gallery space, 150 desktops, a rooftop garden, a 300-seat soundproof event center, a coffee shop and cart, 12 learning spaces with video conference equipment, three times the number of tables and chairs, an innovation lab and tech petting zoo, and space for 450,000 volumes, almost three times the current capacity.

You must be onsite to become a member of the library and to renew every two years, and you must live within the municipal boundaries of Austin.

Vessel Coworking

Join us each month at Vessel Coworking, now generously hosting Freelance Austin monthly meetings. Your first visit is free, so go online and book a tour. Fast, reliable internet with personal Ethernet connections at every desk, a free conference room with AppleTV and white board, 40 custom-built wooden tables, private phone rooms and complimentary coffee, water, tea and healthy snacks included. Thanks, Vessel!