by Regis Coustillac, OverDrive Education Account Manager

The value of the library

During my childhood summers, when my siblings and I were self-propelled motors, my mother, a public-school teacher, had to find ways to pacify her rambunctious children. For the woman who spent nearly a decade as a literacy coach, the choice was simple. At least once a week, often twice or more, she herded her three young children to the public library. We would return home, spilling from her minivan with armloads of books, and the next week we carried our haul right back to the library to be replaced by new titles.

I’m sure my love of reading was birthed during those library excursions, but what’s more, these trips are a great example of the informal relationship between schools (or schoolteachers) and public libraries. We all know how critical this relationship is. Between shared programming and events, extra copies for teachers, and school-issued library cards, these public institutions have long-since been tied at the hip. In fact, the Cleveland Public Library, of which I am a proud patron, boasts the moniker, “The People’s University.” At their roots, libraries and schools are aligned in their goals to create readers within their communities.

But what if your mother isn’t a teacher? What if your parent doesn’t have the summers off from work? What if you grew up in a household absent of ardent readers? What can you do if your parents work abnormal hours or don’t have reliable transportation? What options are available for that student to benefit from the public library?

Bridging the Digital Divide

In recent years, libraries have been using their digital collections to broaden the ways they reach their patrons. By no means are the days of children clamoring in and out of minivans with stacks of books gone; however, we have entered an age in which the “armloads” of books are becoming figurative, loaded onto tablets and smartphones. According to the Pew Research Center, one-in-five Americans have listened to an audiobook in the last 12 months, and one-in four have read an ebook. Only a few years ago, those numbers would have seemed staggering.

And libraries aren’t alone. Schools are using digital content and school-issued devices to bridge the digital divide and provide a greater level of equity for their students. With both public libraries and schools adapting to their stakeholders’ needs, it is time for the partnership between the two to evolve as well. OverDrive is committed to this evolution.

School & library partnerships in the works

We have already begun facilitating these types of partnerships. You can read how Harlandale ISD has partnered with the San Antonio Public Library to provide digital materials for students, or discover how the Fresno County Library has partnered with its school districts to provide similar support. You too can create these partnerships with school districts in your service area.

Join us on November 21st at 2:00 p.m. (ET) for our webinar, Library and School Sharing Made Easy. Learn how OverDrive can help you extend your digital collection to students and teachers. We’ll share how it works, success stories, and best practices for developing and engaging lifelong readers in your community. OverDrive Account Manager, Todd Warhola, and OverDrive Education Account Manager, Regis Coustillac, will provide the insights necessary to help you take these first steps towards a partnership. You can register for this free webinar HERE.