One of my favorite parts of my job as a teen librarian is partnering with local schools to promote a love of reading for pleasure. During my school visits, I always tell students how they can get a library card if they don’t already have one. Recently, however, I’ve been working with teachers and department heads at one of the local middle schools to provide eCards for all of their students.
eCards allow students to access several of our digital platforms — Axis360, hoopla, OverDrive, Freegal, and Freading — using their student ID number as their library card number. While a full library card (which all students in our community can get for free) provides access to these resources as well, eCards expand access to eBooks and audiobooks for those who need it most: the ones who can’t get to the library to sign up for a full card. I am so excited to bring these resources to our students!
If you’re thinking about setting up a similar partnership, here are some things to consider:
- Who is your contact at the schools? In order to make the eCard program a success, I had to have buy-in from the head of the English Department. We had several meetings to work out the details, and when we were ready to go live, I was invited to present the resources students could access at a meeting of all the school’s English teachers.
- What will the logistics look like? How often will new students be added to the public library’s system? How often will those who leave be removed? Does every student have an ID number? Are all student IDs the same number of digits? Our Collection Services Manager had to work with our vendors to ensure students’ information could be added to our system so they could log in to our digital platforms.
- How will you tell students about it? In addition to promoting eCards on our website and social media, I have been talking up these digital resources when I visit classes and showing students how to use them.
We’re still in the early stages of using eCards, so I’ll have another post later with an update on how things are going. In the meantime, if you have any questions about starting a program like this at your library, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!