School-Library Partnerships Expand Access to Ebooks and Digital Audiobooks for Students
Public Library CONNECT multiplies choice reading options to help students read more
CLEVELAND – June 14, 2021 – Data shows that expanding access to more choice reading materials in different formats helps students to read more. As the leader in digital reading for libraries and schools worldwide, OverDrive created Public Library CONNECT to strengthen partnerships between public libraries and schools and expand student reading choices. Connecting their digital platforms increases students’ access to popular ebooks and digital audiobooks and can significantly boost reading.
With Public Library CONNECT, students of participating schools can access both their school’s and local public library’s digital books in one app: the Sora student reading app. Students open Sora via their familiar school interface using their school login. They can then easily log into the library’s digital collection through the Sora student reading app using their school credentials rather than requiring a separate library card.
Over 23,000 schools in the U.S. currently participate in Public Library CONNECT with their local public library, which is more than half of all U.S. schools that use Sora. More than 13 million students borrowed over 3.9 million ebooks and audiobooks from their local public library through Sora during the ’20-’21 school year, a 488 percent increase YoY.
“Public Library CONNECT is the path forward for all school districts, whether large or small, in building a quality digital collection,” said Tom Nixon, Library Services Manager at Fresno Unified School District in California. “Not only does it automatically expand your collection, it creates a powerful relationship with your local public library. It is a win-win for both library systems because it increases usage across the board.”
The Public Library CONNECT school-library partnership provides safe access to thousands of age-appropriate titles by simplifying the user experience and removing significant barriers:
- Uses familiar school login credentials so a library card isn’t required.
- Showcases digital books from the school and library in one app so students don’t have to use multiple platforms.
- Automatically controls content access levels so educators and librarians don’t need to manage permissions or the integration.
Theresa Sanchez, Director of Library Services at North East Independent School District (NEISD) in Texas, added, “In May 2020, North East Independent School District Library Services partnered with San Antonio Public Library in Public Library CONNECT, and since then, our students and staff have checked out over 42,500 PLC resources in addition to 206,906 district circulations. Our NEISD librarians were thrilled to connect students to San Antonio Public Library’s expanded collection which allowed our students immediate access to a wider selection of titles through Sora. Moreover, PLC was easy to implement due to the simply seamless integration to our existing Sora account.”
Libraries can monitor aggregate circulation data generated by Public Library CONNECT, shown separately from other digital book checkouts. Schools can view summary reading data such as books opened, total time read, average time per book and number of readers.
The Sora app was named one of TIME’s Best Inventions 2019 and is available for participating schools’ students to download through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, and on Chromebooks that support the Google Play Store. It is also available for use in web browsers at https://soraapp.com on any computer.
For more information and to sign up for PLC, visit https://company.overdrive.com/public-libraries/public-library-connect/.
About OverDrive and OverDrive Education
OverDrive strives to create “a world enlightened by reading.” Serving a growing network of 65,000 libraries and schools in 84 countries, OverDrive – and its K-12 division, OverDrive Education – delivers the industry’s largest digital catalog of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and other content through award-winning apps. The Libby reading app for libraries is one of Popular Mechanics’ 20 Best Apps of the Decade, while the student reading app Sora is one of TIME’s Best Inventions of 2019. Founded in 1986, OverDrive is based in Cleveland, Ohio USA and was named a Certified B Corp in 2017. www.overdrive.com
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