At Tinley Park Public Library, young adult librarian Clarice Pelczarski is well aware of the importance of providing books to her entire community. “As a librarian, I always want readers of all ages to have access to any and all of the books that they would like to read,” she said.

Located 30 miles southwest of Chicago, the village of Tinley Park, IL is home to 55,000 residents. The community has access to digital resources including ebooks, audiobooks, and digital magazines through the Media on Demand library consortium.

“Public Library CONNECT eliminates many barriers to reading”

Public Library CONNECT enables students at Kirby School District 140 to borrow age-appropriate ebooks and audiobooks from Tinley Park Public Library and Media on Demand using their school login credentials in Sora, the student reading app. Setting up Public Library CONNECT is easy for both schools and libraries with a simple opt-in consent form available through OverDrive or by talking to their OverDrive Account Manager.

“Students who may not otherwise make use of their local library’s OverDrive collection are able to access a vast collection of titles for recreational reading,” explained Pelczarski. The ability to check out books through Sora encourages students to read books they might otherwise be reluctant to openly carry around in a physical format, such as those of a lower reading level. “Public Library CONNECT eliminates many of the barriers to reading that students may find, including affordability and ease of access to reading materials,” she said.

Building a lifelong love of reading

Public libraries and school districts have long shared a common goal of fostering literacy and academic success among children. With OverDrive’s Public Library CONNECT, libraries and school districts can unite forces and amplify their impact and provide children with increased access to books. By partnering with Kirby School District 140, Tinley Park Public Library has been able to bridge the literacy gap in their community and promote a love of reading among kids.

While the majority of users of Tinley Park’s OverDrive collection are adult readers checking out adult titles, according to Pelczarski the checkouts from KSD 140 students represent approximately 1/3 of total checkouts from the Tinley Park OverDrive collection.

“I think any positive associations with reading through ebook lending is a net positive,” said Pelczarski. “Ideally, they would switch to the Libby app to check out ebooks from their local library after they have graduated from school.”

Interested in learning more?

Read the school’s perspective of Public Library CONNECT here.

About the author: Jill Grunenwald is a Marketing & Communications Specialist on the North America Public Library Marketing Team. A former librarian, she joined OverDrive in 2015. Outside of the office she can be found writing, hanging out with her cats, collecting more Tarot decks than she has room for, and playing competitive pinball. Her favorite genre is something she calls “Murder at an educational institution that involves a close-knit group of suspicious characters.”