Schools-library venture gives students boost in access to materials

GREENFIELD — Every Greenfield-Central student and teacher will get a public library card this upcoming school year in an effort to promote learning by providing access to a broad spectrum of materials.

The Hancock County Public Library is partnering with the school corporation to ensure teachers and students in Grades K-12 receive library cards to kick off the new school year.

“All the people that go to Greenfield-Central are eligible for a card anyway, even the teachers,” library director Dave Gray said.

“We want to make it as easy as possible.”

The partnership comes on the horizon of Greenfield-Central High School launching its one-to-one computer program, and Gray pointed out that there are plenty of online databases and research opportunities students will have access to if they have a library card.

“This will be especially helpful for our high school students as we deploy the MacBooks,” said Greenfield-Central assistant superintendent Christy Hilton. “Dave Gray has done a great job at really finding ways to build partnerships to build up the library.”

The registration will be a part of each student’s file when they register for classes.

“Parents will know that they are signing up for a library card, and they will agree to our terms,” Gray said at a recent library board meeting.

Once library officials receive all the names of students registering for Greenfield-Central classes, they will go through the list and determine which students are in need of a library card. Those that already have one may keep their old card.

About a quarter of the school corporation’s teaching staff lives outside of county limits.

Gray said while they were already eligible to get a library card through a program specifically for teachers, the new partnership makes obtaining one easier.

Hilton said that’s important, since many teachers who live out of county don’t know they have access to the library’s trove of educational materials.

A similar library card partnership kicked off in 2011 at Eastern Hancock through its one-to-one computer program, Gray said.

Eventually, a card sign-up program could be rolled out for Southern Hancock as well.

Eastern Hancock High School Principal Dave Pfaff said it’s been a tremendous help to students and staff to be able to access databases, music, periodicals, fictional materials and more through the library.

When it comes to research, Pfaff added, students can delve into several more resources through the county library than what they had access to at the school library.

Eastern Hancock will revisit its library card sign-up program this summer in anticipation of the upcoming school year.

“We’ll figure out who doesn’t have cards yet and get them to them,” Pfaff said.

Gray said he’s looking forward to the launch of the Greenfield-Central partnership this summer.

“It’s a big deal for us,” Gray said. “This is one of those things that we had hoped we would be able to do.”