Information Today
Volume 17, Issue 9 • October 2000 Launches Web Portal for Students

The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (PLCMC) has announced the launch of brarydog (, a gateway to the Web that’s designed especially for students.

“We think of brarydog as your personal library and Web companion,” said Helene Blowers, PLCMC’s director of Web services. “Students in middle school through college are brarydog’s target audiences, and it’s a great resource for students who need homework help.”

According to the announcement, PLC-MC is the first public library to develop a customizable Web site like brarydog. Although similar Web pages originated with search engines such as Yahoo!, developer of My Yahoo!, brarydog is different in one distinctive way.

“The customizable pages provided by search engines typically are specific only to the computer you use to customize your page,” Blowers said. “But you can access brarydog from any computer that has access to the Internet—Mac or PC. With brarydog, people can get to the library’s subscription-only online resources, and can add their favorite links from anyplace on the Web to create a page with the resources and sites they like and use most. They can do this because each person will select a user ID and a password to gain access to his or her own brarydog page. Wherever they are, at whatever computer with Internet access, they use that ID and password to sign on, and their individual brarydog page will appear.”

To make searches and customization easier, Blowers and the library’s Web services team built several “desks” that students can use to easily organize sites and resources:

All the information resources available on brarydog are free to residents of Mecklenburg County with or without a library card. In addition, there are 10 premium resources on the site that require a library card number, including Grolier’s Multimedia Encyclopedia, Electric Library and Electric Library Elementary (with full-text access to magazines, newspapers, pictures, maps, and television and radio show transcripts), Health Reference Center (offering topical overviews and full-text access to over 100 medical and health periodicals), Business ASAP (with investment reports, company profiles, and full-text access to more than 450 journals), and Novelist (reading recommendations for adults, young adults, and children).

“If you don’t live in Mecklenburg County, you can apply for a brarydog card online,” said Blowers. “If you live in Rock Hill, Chicago, or even London, you simply pay a $25 library fee, which gets you a card and access to all the library services, including the premium services on brarydog.”

brarydog is a member of the family of Web sites developed by the PLCMC. The library also has developed such sites as StoryPlace (, a story-telling site for children in English and Spanish; BizLink (, an online business-information research tool; and HealthLink Plus ( See a complete list and description of the sites at

Source: Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, Charlotte, NC, 704/336-2725;

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