The Lincoln County Public Library finalized a partnership with Lincoln County Schools this week that will enable all district students to receive online access to the library’s digital resources.
The Students and Teachers Accessing Resources (STAR) program provides students with library research databases and language learning software, eBooks, magazines and streaming music and video. Letters were recently sent out to parents and school officials hope to have the program fully introduced to students by November.
“It was definitely one of those things where we knew it was a great idea, let’s see how we can work together,” said Rhonda Hager, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. “We’re just very excited and look forward to utilizing this as we move forward with professional development. We’re just very excited about it.”
The partnership was first announced by library director Jennifer Sackett back in August, but certain measures had to be taken care of before the deal could be finalized. Hager said that included merging student ID numbers with library card numbers.
Sackett said the students will have virtual e-cards to access the digital content and the library won’t have to actually issue physical cards. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library recently started its own program, and Lincoln County will be one of the state’s first counties to launch a similar endeavor.
“For the last two years, I’ve been looking at the need to expand our electronic and digital resources for kids,” Sackett said. “I wanted to make sure if we decided to go that route and make that investment that these resources would be utilized to their full capacity. Some kids can come to the library, and they get there. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for everybody.”
Students will have access to the library’s eBook collection, which includes books purchased by the library and made available through its catalog. The partnership also offers a large array of databases that provide SAT practice, homework help, instructional courses, full-text magazines and newspapers and Pronunciator, a language learning system with modules for students and adults.
“The devices are one thing, but if you don’t have anything to use the device for, that’s a whole different issue,” Hager said. “Having digital resources that we can populate, just to find things to utilize those things with. A Google search isn’t going to give you a quality of resources that are going to be vetted.”
The program will last as long as a student is enrolled in school and can be accessed from off campus or when school is not in session. Membership expires after high school graduation, but Sackett said she hopes the program will serve as an introduction to the library and convince students that it can serve them long after they finish their education.
“We hope to encourage people,” Sackett said. “Once they graduate from high school, they are more than welcome to come get a library card that will continue that free access to the library.”