*Photo taken prior to Pandemic
Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library Team Up To Offer NWLSD Students And Staff Members Free Online Library Access
Northwest Local School District (NWLSD) and the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library (CHPL) have teamed up to offer all NWLSD students, preschool through 12th grade, as well as staff members free online library access as well as access to library books. While the two organizations have always had a strong relationship, the need to further align became evident during the pandemic as students and staff faced the possibility of going remote.
“When schools closed with little warning in March, many NWLSD students who typically rely on the school library for reading materials were left in the lurch,” said Chris Rabold, NWLSD librarian. “While our district libraries and library staff do a great job of connecting students with books, we don't have the online resources that the public library has to offer. We did the best we could to get students signed up for cards and instruct them on how to use the eBranch; however, it quickly became evident to both organizations that we needed to strengthen our alliance and streamline services to meet the needs of our community during COVID.”
As the start of the school year got closer, administrators across the district began to face one of the greatest challenges for the district - being able to provide students with access to the resources that they needed should the district go full remote or if a student or classroom would need to learn from home due to a quarantine. District administrators began thinking through all of the processes of what would need to be in place should the Governor mandate that all schools close. NWLSD librarians, Bethany Miller and Chris Rabold, who were of the same thought, began putting the pieces together to make sure that NWLSD staff and students were ready in case of closure.
“Throughout the summer we worked with the teen librarians at the Northcentral and Groesbeck Branches to figure out the best way to get students signed up for cards,” said Bethany Miller, NWLSD librarian. “In the past, library card sign-ups involved face-to-face interactions that would not be possible under the circumstances. With the help of NWLSD Curriculum Director Brenda Miller and Beth Yoke at CHPL, we came to an agreement that all students would be able to get cards automatically without having to provide additional information or visit a branch.”
NWLSD librarians have always been advocates of the Cincinnati Public Library, promoting their resources and programs to students and staff, and partnering with them on events from time to time. CHPL librarians supply teachers and school librarians with book collections to supplement classroom reading, visit schools for special storytimes and book club events, and provide a wealth of online resources to support student learning. NWLSD Students benefit from the close association as well. Many students go to the public library after school to study, get homework help online or tutoring at the branch, and participate in the special programs the library hosts such as writer's workshops and author visits.
“We are very excited to continue to strengthen this alliance and help pave the way for others going forward as the Northwest Local School District is the very first district in the county that has been offered the opportunity to provide accounts for all students and staff,” said Rabold. “The District's relentless focus on literacy means that regardless of the circumstances, it is imperative that we find ways to give our students access to books and information. We are proud to have taken strides in this direction and look forward to educating students and staff on the wealth of resources available to them thanks to this partnership.”