By LINDA CHION KENNEY
Look no further than your wallet for an old-school card that links to free and extensive learning and research tools for academic success, financial prosperity and in-demand skills training.
Step one, dust off your library card and visit www.HCPLC.org for access to the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative; then click the tab that reads, “Learning and Research.”
Type in your library card number and PIN, which typically is the last four digits of your telephone number. That’s all it takes to access sites that otherwise require membership fees.
In a nutshell, avoid paywalls to read top newspapers and magazines for free. Take online courses with top experts for free. Dig deep into financial reports and documents and research grants, genealogy, demographics and business data, using some of the most comprehensive tools available — for free.
Interested in business and investment?
Click Morningstar Investment Research to get comprehensive data and analysis on thousands of investments, including mutual funds, stocks and exchange-traded funds. Morningstar Premium is free for Hillsborough library card users. Otherwise, the membership, without a discount, costs $29.99 monthly and $199 annually without a discount.
Value Line, established in 1931 and billed as “the uncontested authority in reliable, unbiased information” with “accurate and insightful investment research on companies, industries, markets,” is available as well. economies.”
Ready to brush up and acquire skills on demand?
LinkedIn Learning offers more than 16,000 online video tutorials to learn in-demand business, creative and technology skills from real-world industry experts. Membership is $24.99 per month or $19.99 per month paid annually, but it is free if you access the site using your library card online at the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative web site (www.hcplc.org).
Looking to learn a foreign language?
Instruction through Mango Languages is available in 73 languages, from the more popular (Spanish, French, Japanese, English, German and Korean) to the less well known (including Azerbaijani, Dzongkha, Igbo, Potawatomi, Tuvan and Uzbek). The cost to learn is $7.99 per month for one language, or $17.99 per month for all languages. Access is free, with a library card, through the HCPLC.org web site.
The Universal Class offering includes instruction in business, crafts and hobbies, entrepreneurship, event management, homeschooling, medical billing, office skills, psychology, real estate and writing. Without library card access, pricing for all courses, including certificates and CEUs, is $189 per year billed annually, or $69 for the first month and $29 for each consecutive month thereafter.
Building a business or small business venture?
Through referenceUSA, get data on 50 million businesses and 292 consumers. Gale Business Essentials offers authoritative and statistical data with analytical tools on U.S. businesses, industries and products. Gale Business Demographics gives statistical breakdowns based on income, housing, business, race, age, education, retail spending and consumer expenditures.
Build your small business skills and understanding through links to the Small Business Administration, Hillsborough County Entrepreneur Collaborative Center, Florida Small Business Development Center and Gale Business Entrepreneurship. Likewise, Gale OneFile offers full-text coverage of all business disciplines.
The Grants and Fundraising section features Candid Learning, which aims to help nonprofits become more viable grant applicants.
Featured also is access to Foundation Directory Online (FDO), which profiles some 100,000 grant-makers, including funding interests, key staff and charts of recent giving. Signing up allows for one continuous 24-hour session per month. Without library card access, the service costs $199.99 monthly, or $124.92 per month paid annually.
Sold on the concept of using your library card for quick access to free learning and research offerings? Check out as well the tabs for Careers and Education, Literature and Books, Homework Help, Law and Crime, and Government, which includes links to state, federal, city and county web sites. Tax information and sample Florida legal forms are also available,.
The News and Magazines section includes free access to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Tampa Tribune Archives, Florida Newspaper Database, Black Newspaper Collection, America’s Newspapers, PressReader, Consumer Reports and National Geographic Virtual Library,
Aiming to build a family tree?
Get to the root of the issue with the Genealogy and History section, which includes links to African American Heritage, America’s Obituaries and Death Notices, Ellis Island, Find a Grave and the Gale Directory Library. For Florida history, link to Florida Memory Project, USF Special Collections, Publication of Archival Library and Museum Materials, University of Florida Digital Collections and the Florida Digital Newspaper Library.
Digital offerings include Hillsborough Remembers Oral History Collection, Burget Brothers Photographic Collection, Tampa Photo Supply Collection, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library and Artifact Collection, Hillsborough Black History Experience Collection and more.
Rounding out the instruction offerings are Tutor.com and Tutor.Com Adult Learning and Career Center. The Learning Express Library includes instruction for classroom and homework success, adult core skills, career preparation and readiness for college admission and high school equivalency credential exams.
Topics under the GCF Learn Free link include Microsoft Office, Internet usage, job searches and networking, creative design, personal finance, decision-making and basic typing, smartphone and tablet skills.
For more, visit www.HCPLC.org/.