Frequently Asked Questions
- Easily find the Lexile level of any Elementary or Middle school article on Britannica School! The Lexile measure can be found by clicking the Teacher tab in each article. A Lexile measure is a valuable piece of information about either an individual's reading ability or the difficulty of a text.
Frequently Asked Questions - Home
- How can I access AVL from home?
The Alabama Virtual Library uses geo-location technology to authenticate
Alabama residents. This technology allows most Alabama
residents access to AVL from their homes without the need for a username and
If the geolocation technology is unable to "recognize" a user as an Alabama resident, then residents may login with an AVL Card. For additional information on geolocation, click here.
AVL Cards may also be used to gain access when a resident is traveling outside the state. Visit your local public library to request an AVL (remote access) card. K-12 students/staff in public schools may obtain a card from their school library.
- Is there a fee to access this information?
No. AVL resources are provided to all Alabama citizens by funding from
the Alabama Legislature.
- What are the policies regarding AVL access? And, what constitutes abuse?
The Alabama Virtual Library (AVL) provides a world of quality library
information licensed for Alabama citizens. Materials include magazine
encyclopedias, and other reference sources. Personal information
collected during AVL card registration
will only be used to authenticate users for AVL and to provide updates on the
AVL and its databases.
AVL databases are for personal use. The databases are licensed for use by Alabama citizens, students/staff at Alabama public schools, and users of Alabama public libraries. Please keep your password secure and private. Use of the AVL by unauthorized users outside of Alabama will jeopardize use of the databases by all Alabama citizens.
An AVL user may not sell, distribute or commercially exploit a product nor make an AVL database available on a network or through remote access technology. Misuse of services provided by AVL may result in denial of service.
An AVL user must have Internet access. General knowledge of web browser and simple search forms is recommended. Searching tips and general database information are available through help screens and tutorials.
- Where can I get an AVL Card and how may it be used?
local public library to request an AVL (remote access) card. K-12 students/staff
in public schools may obtain a card from their school library.
Renewal - Cards should be renewed every 3 years at the issuing library. If a patron moves, a new card may be obtained from the public library or school system where the patron resides upon expiration. When a patron continues to reside in the same community or attend school in the same school system, cards are not "reissued"; they are simply "renewed". Note: access may be denied (at any time) by AVL if access is abused.
Retrieve my Password - Contact the issuing library or the AVL Help Desk for your logon information.
- How do I let someone know that a password has
been compromised or shared with others who should not have access?
Contact the AVL Help Desk at email@example.com and provide as much information
as possible including the user name of the compromised account. The
technical staff will review access records to verify the report. If the
review indicates that the account has been compromised, the password
will be deactivated.
- What are the minimum browser requirements?
Acceptable browsers are Internet Explorer 8 and higher,
Firefox 3 and higher, Safari 4 and higher, or other standards compliant browser.
If you are using an older version of these browsers you may experience formatting
errors or broken pages. For security reasons you should always download the most recent
version of your favorite browser.
- I tried to log in, but it wouldn't let me. What
could be wrong?
1. Are you entering your password correctly?
Verify your password. Did you transpose i/1/I or o/O/0? Original passwords do not contain numbers.
3. Is your computer's clock set correctly?
Make sure that your computer's clock is set to the correct time. Your AVL cookie is valid for a two hour time period.
4. Have you previously set up your computer to access the AVL through the Jefferson County Library Cooperative?
The JCLC offers remote access to all AVL databases along with additional databases licensed for Jefferson County patrons. If you are a Jefferson County library patron, you do not need a separate AVL card. Visit the JCLC web site for additional information. top
- I was able to log in. I can access some AVL resources but not all of them.
Sometimes when I do a search, I get an error message about having "insufficient
What could be wrong?
Are you using AOL or CompuServe?
Some AOL/CS users may experience difficulty accessing certain AVL
resources. This stems from the non-standard way that the integrated
AOL/CS interface handles referral pages. AOL/CS users
should minimize their special browsers and use Internet
Explorer, Firefox, or Safari to access the AVL. At the browser's location prompt, type
in www.avl.lib.al.us and proceed as normal.
Do you have a firewall/security software installed? If you use Norton's Suite of security programs, you may find it necessary to disable Privacy Control (Norton Personal Firewall). If the problem is with EBSCO, click here for additional information.
Some vendors use referral pages to authenticate AVL users. The vendor's server needs to recognize that you just left the AVL website. Some personal firewall/privacy software can strip this referral information. It is the network equivalent of blocking caller ID on your phone.
It may be necessary to add the AVL database providers to a bypass list. Many firewall/privacy software vendors include excellent help files. Search for words such as "bypass list" or "exception list". The specific domains to include are:
Your Internet Explorer privacy settings may be set too high. Go to the "Tools" menu and select "Internet Options". Click the "Privacy" tab and make sure your settings are "medium" or lower.
Are you using an Apple computer?
If so, EBSCO recommends that Apple users use the latest version of Firefox or Safari.
- I am a K-12 media specialist. What are the policies
regarding K-12 card use, and how do I issue cards to my students?
- Most Alabama students no longer need an AVL Card for home access. Please see the Geolocation section of the website for additional information.
- If we didn't put an expiration date on the card, wouldn't the child be able to keep the same card year after year?
- The card must be renewed not reissued every 3 years. All renewal requires is that the student go to the issuing library, the librarian pulls up that student's record and clicks the "renew" button. The expiration date on the card is a visual reminder that the card expires 3 years from the date of issue. Once the card expires, the user must renew the card before he can login.
- I tried to log in but my password did not work.
- There is an error in the training manual. Please make sure the address
- How will you notify schools of changes in the program?
- We will primarily use the ALMS listserv. Please encourage other librarians in your system to join the alms list. E-mail Terry Atchison at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Can I issue a card to staff at the central office?
- Yes. We added a "Central Office" option to the pull-down listing of schools for staff who are not based at one particular school.
- How can I delete students?
- There is no "delete" button. The easiest way to have students deleted
- login to the site where you issue cards
- mark each student (that you wish to delete) as "Access Denied"
- notify the AVL Help Desk that you are ready to have the "Access Denied" students deleted
- Our school has grades 6-8. At the beginning of the year, our 6th grade students are still listed under their elementary school, and our last year's 8th grade students (who are now 9th graders) are still listed under our school instead of the high school. How do I fix this?
- Each year, AVL Technical Support automatically increments the grade
level for each student with a card. However, media specialists at
the individual schools must coordinate with each other to manually
change the school that the students are associated with. To manually
change the school affiliation of each student,
- login to the site where you issue cards
- edit the students that need to be affiliated with a different school
- make the changes and "Submit" or "Renew"
- Can I output my student data into a label program?
- Here is a round-about way to do this if you use Internet Explorer.
- Log in at the adminstrators' page.
- From the left column, choose 'Search for Student'.
- On the next screen, you will see a number of search boxes that allow you to use pull down menus or enter text to narrow your search. On the first line labeled 'Search by', use the pull-down menu to select "School ID" and enter the ID number for your school in the box to the right. On the second line labeled 'Then by', use the pull-down menu to select a specific grade. If you leave this line untouched, you will get a list of all students entered in your school.
- Click the 'Search' button.
- The next screen displays a summary of student data matching your
search in an HTML table. IE allows you to copy this table (Control+C)
and paste it directly into Word or Excel. You may then use the data
with your favorite mail-merge application to print labels for your
- Can you share a sample letter to the parents?
- Here are two letters that were used when AVL began:
- Arab High School, contributed by Sue Kennedy, media coordinator
- Madison City Schools, contributed by Kathy Rains, technology coordinator
If you would like to share your letter with the other schools, please forward a copy to email@example.com.
K12 Home Access Card FAQs
AVL Administrators' Page for K-12 Cards
- I'm a librarian in a public library or a postsecondary institution. How do I issue AVL Cards?
Login to the Admin site and enter the user's information.
- How do I cite AVL resources?
Opinions vary about how to cite online resources. Most AVL databases have information about how to cite their resources. For example, on the main page for SIRS Discoverer, there is a button on the bottom of the screen (How to Cite) which provides information about how SIRS recommends citing sources. There is also a webpage that you might find helpful,
- Why can't I get the multimedia resources from Britannica
to play on my computer?
If you're having problems with any of the multimedia on Britannica Online and Britannica Online School Edition, please review the following information and share it with your technical support staff.
The the following 3 software plug-ins are required to play the video and audio clips on Britannica Online:
Microsoft Media Player ™
Apple QuickTime ™
Real Player ™
- How can I create an AVL icon for my desktop that will link to the
To create an AVL icon on your desktop that will link to the AVL webpage:
Steps to create an AVL icon on your Desktop:
Link the AVL icon to the AVL webpage
- Open the AVL page in an internet browser
- Go to a blank spot on the webpage, right click, and select "Create Shortcut"
- Answer Yes when asked if you want to create a shortcut on your desktop
- Go to the desktop and right click on shortcut to the AVL webpage and select "Properties"
- From the "Web Document" tab, click "Change Icon"
- Browse to the desktop, select the AVL icon, and click "Open"
- Click "OK"
- Now click "Apply" and then click "OK"
The shortcut to the AVL webpage that you just created should now be an AVL icon. Test it out to make sure it links to the desired webpage.
- My question is not listed here. What do I do now?
- Your name, e-mail address, and a phone number for any required follow-up;
- A description of the steps you took to access a particular database, including where you started the process, the URLs displayed or links visited, and the complete error message you were given;
- The date and time of the problem;
- Indicate which browser version you are using (Internet Explorer 7.0, Firefox 3.5, etc.)
Additional Help RequiredIf you need additional help, contact your local public library or the AVL Help Desk. You must provide as much detail as possible about your problem. This includes:
Your location is inside the state of
Alabama so you are automatically
logged in to use the AVL
You are not IP authenticated. Please login
using your AVL Card username and password.
If you do not have an AVL Card, please request
one at your local public library or your local
public school library if you are a student.
AVL username and password.
You are located on the campus of an
Alabama public school or library so
you are automatically logged in
to use the AVL.
Connect with AVL