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Partnership with Schlow Centre Region Library

Library This fall, the State College Area School District and Schlow Centre Region Library will begin the latest chapter in their long partnership to promote reading.

 

After months of preparation, SCASD and Schlow are launching the All Ready Access Program, an initiative spurred by the pandemic and aimed at increasing digital equity. Under the program, all of the district’s nearly 7,000 students will have a district-sponsored library card and online account, allowing them to use Schlow’s resources from home — a boon to families in a time of widespread remote learning.

 

“Access and choice are major tenets of the SCASD library mission in guiding students to be lifelong readers and learners,” says Mount Nittany Middle School Librarian Dotty Delafield, one of the joint committee members who created the program. “As with many things in life, no one library can supply every user’s needs and wants. The beauty of this partnership is we will be closer to our mission goal, and our students will grow into savvy users of public library resources, a skill they can use all their lives.”

 

SCASD’s ties to Schlow date to the library’s start in the late 1950s, when State High students brought bags of collected books to the original West College Avenue building. Over the years, SCASD and Schlow have collaborated on summer reading programs, annual fourth-grade class trips to the library, and the Schlow to School Program in which students reserve library books, have them delivered to their schools and return them at their school libraries.

 

This spring, Schlow proposed building the All Ready Access Program, and discussions ensued. The result: All SCASD students now can tap into the library’s collection of ebooks, audiobooks, digital magazines, databases, and language learning courses. Schlow and SCASD libraries are part of the PA POWER Library portal, a link to thousands of library collections and resources across the state, but previously, students without library cards could use it only while at school. 

 

“Schlow and SCASD had been discussing this type of program for some time, but when we went remote in the spring, we knew there had never been a more necessary time for it,” says Corl Street Elementary Librarian Paije Davis, the district library department coordinator. “I am so thankful and proud to have been a part of the collaborative team of SCASD and Schlow staff who worked hard to see the All Ready Access Program come to fruition.”

 

SCASD librarians have high hopes for the program. Davis anticipates many elementary teachers and students flocking to the TumbleBooks, BookFlix and TrueFlix multimedia databases for both instruction and pleasure. At State High, the library staff sees the program as “a huge plus” for students and expects the wider selection of “choice reading materials” supporting the English curriculum and students’ interests will increase awareness of the borrowing arrangement with Schlow.

 

At the elementary level, Davis also hopes to build upon previous goodwill. In the spring, the district’s elementary librarians, facing budget constraints, asked Paula Bannon, Schlow’s head of children’s services, if she could add a list of ebooks to her collection. She didn’t hesitate.

 

“At the time, we had hoped some students would be able to benefit because maybe they had their own library card or someone in their family could help them,” Davis says. “Because of the All Ready Access Program, we’ll automatically know everyone at SCASD has a library card and can benefit. There are never too many books for our students!”

 

By Chris Rosenblum
Photo by Nabil Mark