Monday, February 11, 2019

Partnering with Our Schools

In the spirit of work at the national level through ALA’s State Ecosystem Initiative and the new Public Library & School Library Collaboration Toolkit done through collaborative efforts of AASL, YALSA, and ALSC, WEMTA, WLA, and DPI are working together to support and foster communications and collaborations among Wisconsin public and school librarians in order to better support the communities we serve. Each quarter we will share a resource, strategy, or example with you that could be used as a talking point in your community. Please use these ideas to initiate or continue to build relationships with public and school librarians.

The Wisconsin School Digital Library Consortium (WSDLC) and the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium (WPLC) are two, fun, easy-to-use ways to promote year-round literacy with students when they use school and public libraries. The WSDLC, launched in January 2018, provides digital audio and ebooks to over 130,000 students in over 100 districts across Wisconsin. The WPLC, which was used as a model for WSDLC, provides a collection of over 77,000 digital and audio ebooks to Wisconsin residents through their public libraries. The WSDLC has three collections to serve elementary, middle and high school students that contain a total of over 7,000 copies of over 4200 unique titles. These collections are available to schools and districts at a low cost, which is covered by district Common School Funds, to help provide equitable access to digital materials throughout our state. The content and platform for the WSDLC is provided by OverDrive, and access is made easy through the Sora App.

The Wisconsin Public Library Consortium (WPLC) provides e-content to patrons through the WI Digital Library via the Libby App, so why should public librarians become familiar with the WSDLC? And, why should school librarians learn more about WPLC? Because these resources provide great opportunities for public and school library partnerships!
  • Both the WPLC and WSDLC use the same vendor and the apps for each audience are similar. There is no need for training staff or patrons.
  • There are lots of materials available during the summer within the WSDLC. The wait time for titles is minimal, so this helps keep the reading momentum going with students when they are not in school and prevents “summer slide.” Also, the Sora app makes it easy to track and reward reading progress with a badging system, as well as allowing the ability to curate summer reading lists.
  • Many of the school-age patrons in public libraries will already be familiar with the look and feel of the WSDLC collections; however, they may not know they can access the titles at their public library, too.
  • School librarians can benefit from helping students access the WPLC because it effectively extends the list of available digital resources for students and faculty without needing additional training.
  • By working together to cross promote these resources, both schools and public libraries gain potential users for their collections. Even more importantly, you provide valuable connections between the lives of children in and outside of school.

For more information or questions regarding WSDLC or WPLC, please connect with your school or public librarian, or reach out to WiLS.

This message is brought to you through the collaborations of Wisconsin Educational Media & Technology Association (WEMTA), Wisconsin Library Association (WLA), and DPI School and Public Libraries. If you are interested in working on future tidbits or have other suggestions for collaborations, please contact Marge Loch-Wouters (WLA) or Michele Green (WEMTA) .

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