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Nearly 7,800 New Students Received Library Cards

Nearly 7,800 New Students Received Library Cards

All cards have been mailed to students, who can immediately start using them!
Librarian holds up a library card in front of a class of elementary school students

WCCLS has an ongoing partnership with local libraries and school districts to provide students with their very own library card. WCCLS is excited for these students to use their new library cards to delight in learning and engage with the community. This past year, 72,980 student accounts have been renewed or created – that's a 6.7% increase from the previous year!

“Partnering with the Beaverton, Hillsboro, and Tigard-Tualatin school districts to provide their students with library cards is a powerful opportunity to support student success and get the most out of our government resources,” says Katie Anderson, the WCCLS Collections & Online Resources Librarian. “The school districts can focus their expertise and resources on books and materials that support curriculum while public libraries can focus our resources on supporting families outside of the classroom and providing fun literacy and enrichment books and resources. Students benefit from the collaboration making it easier for them to get cards to access resources at school and in the community at the library.”

Since the program started in 2019, WCCLS has created 79,571 accounts for Washington County public school students. All students, grades kindergarten through 12th, can use their library card to borrow materials from any WCCLS library both in person and online. Along with the usual books, audiobooks, and e-books, students can get homework help online, stream videos, and even attend events in person or virtually. Be sure to check out the Student Library Card webpage for more details including booklists from our staff. Has your student recently used their library card? We'd love to hear about it! Feel free share on Instagram or Facebook and tag us. Librarian reads a children's book to a class of elementary students

David Freas, the Outreach & Publicity Librarian at Cornelius Public Library, one of 10 libraries that partner with WCCLS for this program, reflects on his experience with the Student Library Card program.

WCCLS: In your own words, what are some major benefits of the Student Library Card program?

DF: The Student Library Card program introduced every student in the Hillsboro School District to their public library and guarantees them an opportunity to take advantage of library services. By providing every student with a library card, we hope to promote a love of reading and lifelong learning, which is key to not only academic and professional success, but for being a well-rounded and well-informed member of the community. In the Cornelius community, where a large percentage of students come from under-served populations, access to library resources may be a child's only way to access books outside of school, so the Student Library Card program also addresses inequities in access to information and academic support. 

Also, because there is only one Hillsboro school in our service district, we are able to use the Student Library Card program as an opportunity to visit students and present about library programs and services. Visiting classes enables us to hear about what students are interested in. Prior to our visit, we always conduct an informal survey of what books and manga and shows students are obsessing over, and then use that information to inform what titles to buy and distribute through our bookmobile. So, the Student Library Card program is also a chance to interact with and listen to lots of students enabling us to make sure our library services are more responsive.

WCCLS: Do you have a memorable interaction with a student using their library card?

DF: In general, the Student Library Card program and class presentations establish a base-familiarity with the library that we then build upon with in-library and outreach programs. At summer bookmobile events at city parks we hope to encounter kids visiting and playing at the park, and because we've met them at school and they recognize us, they are already familiar with what we are doing and excited to interact with us.

The single interaction related to the Student Library Card program that stands out in my mind concerns a student who had recently moved to the area and was very excited to learn the location of the library, and, during the class presentation, she asked to set a time to come into the library to meet with me. We did agree to meet the next day and she came in with her father to show me the book she had written and illustrated. It was very fun to get to share in her earnest excitement about sharing her book and we talked about ways she could publish her book and share it with people. She did go on to self-publish an e-book. She is a true book lover, and we see her at the library and at events regularly. 

WCCLS: If a student asked you for a book recommendation, what would it be and why?

DF: The book that I would recommend would depend greatly on the student doing the asking. Since students are excessively trend-conscious, there is always a set of popular titles and titles related to current movies and shows that will get them excited. This summer Percy Jackson, Kung Fu Panda, Garfield and even Harold and the Purple Crayon will be on students' minds, so we'll be sure to have related titles ready to recommend. The fact that Harold and the Purple Crayon, a classic children's book that is nearly 70 years old, is being released as a major film is remarkably odd and very exciting. While we always want to hand kids’ books that excite them, it is even better when we can give them books that both they and their adults are excited about. For that intergenerational effect, I like to recommend books like Esther Averill's Jenny and the Cat Club series or Ursula K. Le Guin's Cat Wings series, or anything by Margaret Wise Brown or Russell Hoban. 

This year, 1,966 students in the Hillsboro School District received new library cards and 16,879 accounts were renewed.

Other libraries that participated in this year’s student card program include Aloha Community Library, Beaverton City Library, Cedar Mill and Bethany Libraries, Garden Home Community Library, Hillsboro Public Library, North Plains Public Library, Tigard Public Library, Tualatin Public Library, and West Slope Library. Student library cards are valid at all WCCLS libraries. Special thanks to Beaverton School District, Hillsboro School District and Tigard-Tualatin School District who partnered with us.

Does a student in your life not have a library card? Ask your local librarian about getting one today.