Masks Required at Washoe County Libraries in response to COVID-19
In accordance with current CDC recommendations and State of Nevada directives, all visitors ages 2 and up are required to wear masks inside all Washoe County Library locations.

 

Washoe County Library logo

Geography Awareness Week

November 10-16, 2019

by Toni McLaughlin

map

In honor of Geography Awareness Week, we encourage you to enhance your family’s geographic literacy by exploring some of the library’s resources. We offer an array of materials to make you geo-savvy, from atlases and travel guides to popular non-fiction by bestselling science writers. On this page are a few recommended geography resources to get you started.

Geography helps us make sense of our world. It is more than memorizing the names of capitals, river systems and mountain ranges. If we don’t know where places are, then we cannot begin to understand real geography: the nature of places, societies and environments, and how and why they are changing. Local concerns and global issues affect us all–from an urban neighborhood in transition to migration patterns and climate change. The need for geographical understanding is greater than ever before.

Libraries are known as champions of literacy, which is the ability to read and write. Libraries also support cultural literacy, the concept that citizens should possess a common body of knowledge that allows them to communicate effectively, govern themselves, and share in their society’s rewards. Geographic literacy, or geo-literacy, isn’t as well known but is just as deserving of support. Without it, we can't understand why drought in California affects tomato prices in New York or what the Strait of Hormuz has to do with the price of gas in Iowa. The National Geographic Society defines geo-literacy as “the ability to reason about Earth systems and interconnections to make far-reaching decisions.” It means being equipped to better understand the richness and complexity of the world and how our decisions affect others.

In 2006 National Geographic and Roper Public Affairs interviewed 510 young Americans ages 18 to 24 and found one-third could not find Louisiana on a US map and half could not identify the state of Mississippi. Over half of the interviewees were unable to locate Japan on a map of Asia.

In 2016 the Council on Foreign Relations and National Geographic surveyed 1,203 American college students to gauge global literacy (geography, the environment, demographics, U.S. foreign policy, recent international events, and economics). Less than one-third of the students could find Israel on a map, and only half knew that Mandarin Chinese is the language spoken by the most people worldwide.

Roger Downs, geography professor and former chair of the geography department at Pennsylvania State University, notes that US schools have slighted geography. "If geography is not in the curriculum," Downs said, "it's not tested–and that says to the students that it is not valued."

Clearly, there is work to be done. Certain factors do improve geographic knowledge, including travel and language proficiency. Other experiences such as spending time in nature, civic engagement, and community service are critical to building geo-literacy.

 

Print

Libby/OverDrive

Our main digital collection, with thousands of ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines

The New York Times

Complimentary digital access to The New York Times

Reading Challenges

Participate in all our reading challenges with the Beanstack app

TechBoomers

Learn popular technology, apps, and websites with a senior focus

Small Engine Repair Reference Center

Detailed, user-friendly repair guides for all manner of small engines

NoveList Plus

Reading recommendations, series information, and more tools for readers

Mango Languages

Easy access to language learning . More than 72 languages offered.

LinkedIn Learning

Creative, business, and technology courses for in-depth learning

Computer Skills Center

Video courses to learn popular software and computer basics

1,000 Miles Project

The first-hand account of a 1914 prospecting trip across Nevada provides an engaging way to study history

WorldBook Online

With activities and a suite of research tools, it's more than an encyclopedia

TumbleBook Library

A collection of talking, animated picture books and ebooks for kids

Virtual Story Time

Washoe County Library story times, right in your home, every day

Libby/OverDrive

Our main digital collection, with thousands of ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines

Teaching at Home

Help your child's education continue even when the schools are closed

1,000 Miles Project

The first-hand account of a 1914 prospecting trip across Nevada provides an engaging way to study history

WorldBook Online

With activities and a suite of research tools, it's more than an encyclopedia

Teaching at Home

Help your child's education continue even when the schools are closed

Brainfuse HelpNow

Live homework help, writing lab, test prep, and other student resources

Explora

Research resources and tools for students and teachers

Virtual Story Time

Washoe County Library story times, right in your home, every day

STEAM

Science, technology, engineering, and art resources

Reopening Plan

See our plan for a safe, responsible reopening of our physical locations

Teaching at Home

Help your child's education continue even when the schools are closed

Family Engagement and Literacy

Cultural and educational resources for kids of all ages

Get a Card

Sign up for an instant digital card to get access to all our online resources.

Community Resources

Resources and support during the coronavirus outbreak

Back to Work Nevada

Links to resume help, unemployment insurance, and business loan providers

Apps and Tools

Many of our most popular resources have apps for easy use on mobile devices.

TumbleBiblioteca

Disfrute de más de 50 libros, libros de dibujos, y libros con audio para niños de todas las edades.

Referencia Latina

Texto completo cubre una amplia gama de temas dentro y fuera de la academia.

OverDrive

Colección de libros electrónicos y audiolibros descargables en inglés o español y revistas.

The New York Times

Acceso gratuito en línea al New York Times, tanto de forma remota como en la biblioteca.

HelpNow

Tutoría en vivo en español o inglés está disponible con Brainfuse HelpNow