The vast resources of the public library are available to any residents.
If they have a library card.
If they remember the number to log onto electronic services and databases.
Or if they can get to the library.
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All can be barriers for students.
A new program — My TRL — gives students in the Olympia School District unlimited electronic access to the entire Timberland Library system with a simple log-on, whether they have a library card or not.
Free music, magazines, audio books and databases are available from any computer or digital device.
“I didn’t know there were this many options of information, e-books and magazine access at school,” said Capital High School senior Kassidy Townsend during an orientation session for My TRL on Wednesday.
She was downloading music, but she said she intended to go to the SAT test preparation site and take some practice tests.
“That will be really helpful,” she said.
The idea was hatched last winter when talks between the school district and the library began, said Jeff Kleingartner, communications manager for Timberland Regional Libraries. The boards of both organizations signed off on the idea and staff figured out how to make the technology work. There’s an opt-out option for parents who want to control what their children have access to.
The only cost of the program was staff time, Kleingartner said.
The library system hopes to bring in more districts. It depends on the available technology in the district, Kleingartner said.
Explaining the technology was the mission of Capital High School teacher librarian Kristi Bonds, who was introducing seniors to the program this week. Each student had a simple log-on that opened up the Timberland site.
It removes the barrier of getting public library cards, having to remember a long number and going to the library, Bonds said.
The program is available throughout the school district. Katie Quimby, teacher librarian at Reeves Middle School, was teaching seventh-graders about the new resource.
“Kids are really excited about e-books, how to look up books, how to filter by genre, how to know what’s available right now,” she said. “Kids have phones or devices and can come to me and I can walk them through that step to get the book onto their device.”
The magazines were catching the attention of Connor Gjurasic, a senior at Capital. He’d been watching the presidential debates and was looking at The Advocate and The Atlantic. But the Apple technology magazine also interested him, as did the magazine Survival.
David Johnston, who teaches the senior English class, said one of the goals is for seniors on the verge of graduation to know that there is still library support for them after they leave high school.
“It really opens up a lot for kids,” Quimby said. “I don’t have the kind of budget the public library has.”