Homework-Help Tools & Educational Resources That Can Be Accessed in the Library and at Home

September 2021

Student holding up an A+ paper in one hand and a thumbs-up with the other hand.

Fort Bend County Libraries offers a variety of homework-assistance tools and educational resources that are available online and can be accessed 24/7 from home.

FBCL librarians have created some how-to videos that demonstrate how to use these resources. These videos, as well as many other helpful online tutorials such as “How to Use a Citation to Find a Source” and “How to Use Wikipedia… the Right Way,” are available on FBCL’s YouTube channel. A library card is not required to view these video tutorials. To see more in FBCL's "Educational Resources" video series, click here.

These video tutorials showcase just a few of FBCL’s many online resources that are available for students, however. Click on our research tab to find help with science and math; social studies, history, and geography; encyclopedias, dictionaries, and almanacs; practice tests, languages, and much more. 

A library card is not required to access the databases while inside the library, but students will need an FBCL card to access the databases when not in the library. FBCL cards are free to all Texas residents, and there is no minimum age. For information on how to obtain a library card, click here

Librarian assistance is available by phone, email, or online chat.

  • Brainfuse -- This tutorial will demonstrate how to access the FBCL’s Brainfuse HelpNow Homework-Tutoring resource from home, and how to take advantage of the services it offers. This resource enables the library system to provide online homework assistance in a broad range of subjects in both English and Spanish for students in grades K through 12, free of charge. Click here for a demonstration. Click here for a tutorial on Brainfuse's SkillSurfer section.
  • Gale in Context: Biography -- In this tutorial, learn how to access the online resource, "Gale in Context: Biography.” A comprehensive database of biographical information, this resource includes authoritative information on more than 185,000 people throughout history, around the world, and across all disciplines and subject areas. 
  • Gale in Context: Science -- In this tutorial, learn how to access the online resource, "Gale in Context: Science.”. This database helps students understand the context for hundreds of science topics through overviews, journals, news, interactive experiments, and more. 
  • Literary Reference Center – In this EBSCO database, discover literary criticisms, biographies, bibliographies, and social and historical context from full-text essays, articles, and reviews.  Access full-text poems, short stories, plays, author portraits, literary terms, links to websites, and links to NPR broadcasts. 
  • Opposing Viewpoints – This resource provides viewpoint articles, topic overviews, statistics, primary documents, links to websites, and full-text magazine and newspaper articles for information on social issues and current events.
  • STAAR Test Databases -- This video covers resources that FBCL offers to assist with studying for the S.T.A.A.R. test: Brainfuse Skill Surfer, LearningExpress Library, and the STAAR - TEA Student Assessment Division online resource. These resources not only offer lessons on tested concepts, they also offer practice tests. The practice tests provide instant scoring and feedback, and they may be repeated as many times as needed. This resource can help students overcome test anxiety, gain confidence, and improve scores while working at their own pace. 
  • STAAR-TEA Student-Assessment Division -- The Texas Education Agency website includes previously released STAAR tests and information booklets that can be reviewed for future test-taking. This video demonstrates how to access the TEA website from the FBCL website, how to download tests, and more. 
  • Gale eBooks Virtual Reference Library & Credo Reference -- "Gale eBooks Virtual Reference Library" is a database of authoritative nonfiction eBooks. It offers encyclopedias, almanacs, and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research that are all full-text and always available. You can access Gale eBooks anytime from the library's eLibrary page---look under "Books, eLibrary & More." "Credo Reference" promotes knowledge building, problem-solving and critical thinking to give people the information skills necessary for success throughout their academic, professional and personal lives. Use this simple tool to confidently search 3,629,050 full-text articles in 1,222 titles from 122 publishers. 
  • Texas Reference Center -- This comprehensive database contains full-text journals, publications, newspapers, books, and primary-source documents covering Texas history, ethnic & cultural diversity, gender studies, literature, biographies, public health, and business, as well as home & garden and sports & leisure. 
  • Transparent Languages (Beyond Chapter 1) -- Are you planning to visit a foreign country? Would you like to make yourself more marketable to an employer by being bilingual? Do you want to have an advantage on an international business trip by speaking the language of the country? Learning another language can have many benefits, and FBCL’s “Transparent Language® Online” resource makes learning a new language easier than ever – and it’s free! In this video, FBCL’s Adult Services staff member presents “Transparent Language® Online: Learning a Language Beyond Chapter 1." Learning a new language can be challenging, but retaining and using it in a conversational setting can be even more so. Learn about the “placement test” feature that enables the user to jump past initial lessons to reach the section that is appropriate for their stage of learning. Discover two other features of this resource that can help the student retain and use the language skills they have learned.  About Transparent Language® Online: The Transparent Languages resource offers online courses for people who would like to learn a new language. The database includes more than 80 languages – from Afrikaans to Zulu – as well as ESL (English as a Second Language) classes for non-English speaking people who would like to learn English. The English-language-assistance courses are available for people who speak Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Farsi, Hindi, Czech, Indonesian, Malay, Norwegian, Romanian, Swahili, Tagalog, Thai, Urdu, Russian, German, French, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Greek, Arabic, or Italian.
  • How to Use a Citation to Find a Source -- Writing great research papers begins with the daunting task of finding the right sources, but with a few “tricks of the trade” from academic librarians, students may find that it’s not as hard as they think! In this video, FBCL staff explain how to look at a citation in the bibliography of a book or article, determine what kind of source is being cited, and then find the source that is described by the citation. Examples of different types of citations are demonstrated.