by Ben Schorzman, City of Eugene Library, Recreation & Cultural Services
Nearly 15,000 students in Eugene School District 4J will receive a library card, free of charge and ready to use.
This initiative represents an expansion of the ongoing partnership between Eugene Public Library and 4J. The school district has already started distributing the library cards in each school and will continue in January.
These new student cards will provide immediate access to Eugene Public Library’s online resources and the ability to borrow five physical items at a time. Online resources include e-books, audiobooks, research information, live homework help by professional tutors, streaming movies including documentaries and instructional videos, music and more. Physical items include books, magazines, DVDs, CDs, art and technology tools, games, puppets and more.
“A public library card is one of the most powerful tools for educational success,” said Eugene Public Library Acting Director Angela Ocaña. “School libraries do an amazing job of serving students onsite. Now, 4J students will also be given automatic access to their larger public library as well. We’re overjoyed to get library cards into the hands of even more kids and teens in our community so they can benefit from endless opportunities for learning and fun.”
All K-12 students enrolled at 4J neighborhood and alternative schools are eligible for the cards. Charter schools are not included. Parents were provided with an advance opportunity to opt out of the program. The school district will provide $10,000 annually to support the student card project.
Student cards can be upgraded to a standard library card at no charge with a call or visit to the library. Each school year, student cards will be automatically renewed for continuing 4J students and new cards will be issued to those joining the district. District students who already have a standard library card may choose to keep and use both cards or they can cancel one of their cards.
This new program is the first time preprocessed library cards have been conveniently distributed directly to students in Eugene schools. Eugene Public Library already offers free cards to all students enrolled in Eugene School District 4J and Bethel School District, as well as to all children ages 0-5 who live within those school districts. However, completing registration for a standard card requires a visit to the library, and for cardholders under 16 years old, a parent must visit as well.
Eugene Public Library would like to see everyone have full access to public library services. If you live within Lane County, you may want to share your views with your county commissioner. The commissioners are the elected officials who would need to take action to extend full public library services to everyone in the county. The local organization addressing this situation is the Lane Library League. Eugene Public Library supports and assists the league’s work.
For more information about school distribution of student cards, contact the student’s school office.
For more information about library card accounts and services, contact Eugene Public Library at eugene-or.gov/library or 541-682-5450.