Childhood Cancer

Childhood Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors

How to get information from your library or computer

Libraries have a computerized database of all materials available in their various branches, although some libraries may still use a manual card catalog system. If you need help learning how to use these book-locating systems, ask a librarian. You can also learn how to request a book from another branch and how to put a book on hold if it is currently checked out.

If a book is not in your library’s collection, ask a reference librarian if it can be obtained from another library via interlibrary loan. This is common practice, and you might be able to get medical texts from university or medical school libraries. Some local libraries also have online databases that list all publications available at regional libraries; this way, you can look up a book on the Internet, find out which library has it, and request that it be sent to your local library for pick up.

If you want to read medical journal articles, you can access them through your local library. The librarian can show you how to use the database to search for articles and where to find the periodicals. Public libraries often subscribe to only the most popular medical journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicine and Journal of the American Medical Association. If you are able to visit a university or medical school library, you will find many more print medical journals available. If you do not live close to one of these libraries, ask your local librarian to help you obtain copies of the articles you want.

An astonishing amount of information is available through the Internet. Libraries from all over the world can be accessed, and you can download information in minutes from huge databases such as MedLine or Cancerlit. Obtaining information from large medical databases, established journals, or large libraries is exceedingly helpful for parents at home with sick children. However, the huge numbers of people using the Internet has spawned websites, chat rooms, and social media sites that may or may not contain accurate information. You may want to read information from only reliable sources and adopt the motto: “Let the buyer beware.”

If you do not have a home computer, many libraries provide Internet access. Ask the librarian to help you connect to MedLine, Physician’s Data Query (PDQ), or other databases you wish to search.