Grant helps library provide ‘eBook branch’ to schools


Just in time for students to return to school, the Delaware County District Library has installed digital download stations at local schools, thanks to a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, awarded by the State Library of Ohio.

This enables any student with a compatible electronic device and a library card to select a book and download it from local library’s digital collection on demand.

At least one “OverDrive Media Station” will be accessible by students in the media and learning center of the Columbus State Community College’s Delaware campus and each of the public school districts in the library district’s service area: Delaware City, Buckeye Valley Local and Olentangy Local school districts.

“School librarians expressed a wish for more public library materials in their media centers, but additional space for these collections is limited, and it is nearly impossible for the schools to take on the added burden of public library circulation policies and practices,” said grant applicant and library district deputy director Don Yarman. “An eBook branch is an ideal solution, putting virtual public library materials and services within the school, taking up very limited floor space, and automating the circulation transaction. School librarians need only do basic readers advisory and simple instruction and troubleshooting.”

A pilot project in 2014 with Olentangy Liberty Middle School saw great success and helped fuel Yarman to implement it elsewhere. Through the school’s “Bring Your Own Device” program, students were encouraged to use their own tablets and electronics to pursue educational goals.

“I saw an opportunity to promote eBook and eAudio usage to my students, since research has shown that self-selected reading is key to increasing reading ability and literacy skills,” said Mary Burkey, retired Olentangy Liberty Middle media specialist and pilot project founder. “I approached the library with the proposal to put a ‘virtual mini-branch’ within my media center, and received Education Foundation grant funds to purchase the touch-screen hardware for an OMS kiosk.”

The Institute of Museum and Library Service’s Library Services and Technology Act funds are used to support in-house and statewide initiatives to strengthen the efficiency, reach and effectiveness of library services in the state. Partnerships with other libraries and organizations are required to be considered for grant funds.

Staff Report

Information for this story was provided by the Delaware County District Library.

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