Recently, news reports have circulated the internet recounting the misadventure of a Florida teen who was denied entrance to her school’s homecoming dance. Apparently at issue was that age-old bane of every American public school student and librarian: an overdue library book.

This kind of thing doesn’t have to happen.

With the advent of digital libraries, many of the logistical constraints involved with the traditional library setting have become as irrelevant as those adjustable rubber due-date stamps that many of us grew up with.

Digital libraries sit comfortably in the place where literacy, convenience and the age of personal technology intersect.

They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; they offer a multitude of resources right at one’s fingertips; and for the occasionally forgetful student, it’s reassuring to know that downloaded books return themselves on their due date.

With today’s kids already immersed in the technology of iPhones, iPads, Kindles and Nooks, digital libraries provide an opportunity for students to embrace reading in a medium that is comfortable, familiar and most importantly, engaging.

Last year McKinney ISD rolled out its own digital library, powered by Overdrive, at the secondary level and, with generous funding from the Laura Bush Foundation, has expanded the program this year to include the district’s elementary schools. Recently, the Overdrive Digital Bookmobile, a 75-foot library technology resource on wheels, stopped by McKinney ISD to promote interest and give students a primer on how to access the district’s digital library.

“McKinney ISD libraries are committed to supporting engaging learning opportunities outside the four walls of the traditional library,” said Lara Lindsey, McKinney ISD Director of Instructional Technology and Library Services.

“Overdrive allows us to support student learning even when we aren’t around,” she said.

Overdrive Digital Bookmobile

Students seem to be making good use of the opportunity. Since the program’s inception last November, the digital library has circulated 2,400 titles. “We circulated over 300 titles in October alone,” said Lindsey. “Our elementary school’s participation in this initiative will more than likely double this number.”

Any student or district employee can access the digital library and download up to two books at a time to any electronic device. For students, that access is limited to age appropriate material; elementary students are allowed to download books tagged for PK-5, middle schoolers have access to PK-8 books, while high school students can choose from the entire digital catalog.

Available from the digital library is a broad range of fiction and nonfiction selections in text-only format and audio editions in English and Spanish.

Practically every conceivable make and model of smartphone, tablet, computer and e-reader is supported by Overdrive, and the process is simple enough that even this technologically backward writer was able to navigate it without assistance.

Those interested in exploring the digital library should visit http://digitallibrary.mckinneyisd.net.

For log in, the following information is required:

Students
Library Card Number: s [followed by] student ID number (Ex. s123456)
PIN: [eight digit birthdate] (Ex. 06251901)
Staff
Library Card Number: [six digit MUNIS ID number]
PIN: [first initial last name] (Ex. jdoe)

Users must download the appropriate free app for their mobile device which can be located by clicking on the “Help” tab and then selecting “Device Resource Center”. For those who download to a computer, the website may prompt you to download Adobe Digital Additions.

The process is basically like any other online shopping experience -- there is a “book bag” and a “checkout” -- except that it is completely free.

For those of us accustomed to the feel of a book in our hands -- the texture of actual paper, the rich aroma of it -- who savor the exploration of quiet rows of books, traditional libraries offer a literary haven. For young and old alike.

But, the digital library opens the doors to our students in a context that is comfortable and engaging -- whenever and wherever they are ready to dive into literature.

 

 

For additional information on McKinney ISD, contact Shane Mauldin, MISD Communications Specialist, at 469-302-4007 or smauldin@mckinneyisd.net.