Inside Voices – Today we’re using our Inside Voices to talk about 7 Back-to-School tips from your Library

It’s that time of year …

Well it’s the start of another school year and unfortunately, COVID-19 is still with us. So for the second year in a row, heading back to school looks a bit different than it has in days gone-by.


  • Backpack? Check.
  • Pencil case? Check.
  • Mask? Seriously? Still? Check.

Not to mention that how things look from one day to the next may change with little or no warning. 

In an uncertain world, your public library is here to help. Whether you are sending your kids back to the classroom, schooling them at home, or accessing online learning as a school-aged or adult learner, the Petawawa Public Library is here to support you!

Read on for 7 tips on the collections and services we think will be the most useful as students of all ages head back-to-school

Tip 1: We Have an Awesome Junior/Young Adult Collection

Did you know that many books in the Children’s department have been selected with the Ontario school curriculum in mind? You’ll find some great non-fiction reference material for all those projects, papers and reports.

Plus, there are lots of graphic novels, and popular fiction books for chilling out and rewarding all that hard school-based hard work.

Tip 2: We Provide an Interlibrary Loan Service

If we don’t have it, we can try to get it from another library — as long as it’s not a recent publication.

The Interlibrary Loan ordering process is super easy. Fill out and submit the Online Form, or visit us at the library and we’ll place the order for you.  

Pro tip: Because it may take a few weeks to receive your book, be sure to request it sooner than later to be sure to get it well before your project is due.

We know it’s a bit of a bummer that we can’t bring in recently published material, but libraries like to keep the newest, hottest titles for their own members. This means they won’t send us material that has been published within the last 12 months.

However, did you know you can also make Suggestions for brand new books? Just use the same Online Form!

Tip 3: We Are Adding Lots of New French books

If you have students learning in French, our growing French collection will be a great help. In partnership with le Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario, we will be adding almost 170 new French titles to the Children’s Department. You’ll find board books, picture books, series, non-fiction and more.


Tip 4: We Can Connect You With Great Online Resources for Learners of All Ages

Believe it or not, Google and Wikipedia will only get you so far when it comes to research. For  reliable, fact based information, your Library gives you online access to articles, reference books, images, periodicals, biographies etc.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Gale in Context – Elementary
    • For Grades K-5
    • Find pictures and articles about famous people, science, math, geography and history.
  • Canadian Reference Centre
    • The largest collection of regional full-text content available to Canadian schools and libraries.
    • Includes leading Canadian and international periodicals, reference books and biographies, plus thousands of images from the Canadian Press. 
  • Primary Search
    • Non-fiction eBooks on science, math, history and more.
  • Gale General One File
    • Includes magazines, news articles, academic journals, images, and video to support everyday research.

For reading practice or just for fun, TumbleBook Library provides access to animated picture books that allow young readers to follow along with the text as the story is being read to them. Older kids can access graphic novels, as well as non-fiction and informational videos.

To view all of our available online resources, check out our Resources A-Z page.

Remember, you’ll need to enter your Library card number to enjoy these resources.

Tip 5: We Maintain a Parent-Teacher Collection

Looking for resources to support your home schooling efforts or to provide extra help to your children attending in-person classes? Check out the Parent-Teacher shelf for manipulatives, kits, book-based activity ideas and more!

Tip 6: We Offer Exam Proctoring

After a bit of a hiatus, we are once again able to offer this service. Students taking advantage of distance learning from a variety of educational institutions can arrange to write their exams here at the Library.

The cost is $40 (cash only) and the proctor is available during the day, from Monday to Friday. More information, as well as the new online request form, is available on our Exam Proctoring page.

Tip 7: We Have Free WiFi and Computers

Libraries recognize that not everyone has reliable access to the online world, so we are happy to provide this service.

There is no WiFi password, so if you have your own device you should be good to go. If you prefer to use one of our Public Internet stations, you’ll need to come see us at the desk and we’ll give you a disinfected keyboard and mouse. (You have COVID to thank for that).

And who even has a working printer these days? Well we do! We charge a fee for printing, but it’s a lot cheaper than paying for ink cartridges that dry out by the time you need to print out that last minute report. You can find more information on our Printing, Faxing & Scanning page.

Here’s to a safe and healthy school year

With the arrival of the COVID Fourth Wave and severe virus variants, we are still wearing our masks in public, rolling up our sleeves for our vaccines and maintaining social distance. It’s been almost 2 years and we can’t wait for the time when all these precautions reach their full effectiveness and we can reclaim what we have lost.

In the meantime, have a great school year, whatever that looks like for you and your family. And remember, your library is here to help!