Back to school 2016: Library cards
by Rebecca Rider
SALISBURY — This year, every Rowan-Salisbury student was given the key to infinite information: a library card.
“The wealth of information is at their fingertips is unbelievable,” Kelly Feimster, director of instructional programs with Rowan-Salisbury Schools said.
The system this summer partnered with the Rowan Public Library to see that each student was assigned a special library card. Using their student ID number, students received a “Rowan One” card, which gives them access to books, digital resources, peer reviewed sources and library computers. And some of those resources are available to students 24/7.
“Anything they’re interested in, they have a free resource they can go to, they don’t have to wait,” Feimster said.
Library Services Manager Melissa Oleen said the initiative went live in June, granting a digital account to nearly 20,000 school-aged children.
“It’s made it just tremendously easier for students to be able to check out materials,” Oleen said.
Using a student ID number — one most students already have memorized — students can check out up to three physical books, and have access to unlimited digital resources.
Oleen said it puts a world of vetted information at their fingertips that they couldn’t get elsewhere.
“No one else in the county has the collection we have, the scope . . . all of that is accessible with a library card,” she said.
The program has been going smoothly since its summer rollout, and Oleen said it’s paired nicely with the library’s bookmobile, which often accompanied the school system’s summer feeding program this year.
“We wanted to reach more kids, and we wanted to make it easier for them to get materials in their hands,” she said.
Many students live in homes with no internet and limited access to information, which can make it difficult for them to read for homework or pleasure.
“It all hinges on having that library card and having access to that. That opens the door,” she said.
The Rowan One card expires after a student graduates from high school. Students can upgrade their Rowan One card to a physical library card, which allows them to check out up to 25 books, and does not expire. Parents can choose to opt out of the card by visiting the school system’s website.