Public Library CONNECT-SA
San Antonio Public Library, Texas
In April 2018, the San Antonio Public Library began working with OverDrive to find a way to connect students in the local public library service area to SAPL’s digital collection through the student’s school. OverDrive’s Public Library CONNECT program is now spreading across the country.
The challenge is twofold. How do public libraries partner with schools to increase access to digital materials and encourage reading anytime/anywhere? Secondly, how do public libraries do this while following the requirement that digital materials only be available to persons in the library’s service area? A public library card seems the obvious answer. However, various barriers to using a library card exist, such as mobility issues, fines, technology and simply forgetting one’s library card number.
Working with OverDrive and local public schools, a method to connect students to the OverDrive app using the student’s school credentials was developed. Then a better option became available using one of Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2019, Sora. OverDrive offers access to the Sora app free to all schools. For schools using Sora and opting in, students can access the local library OverDrive digital collection using their school credentials.
Access to digital materials for students has become even more important with the impacts of COVID-19. This program has increased both partnerships across the community and access to digital materials for students and teachers. The program began with the pilot school district, Harlandale ISD, connecting through SORA and has expanded to 12 of our 15 local Independent School Districts, representing 95% of local ISD students. Expansion to additional public and private schools continues.