Kids, teachers can use I.D. number as digital library card

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • A new collaboration between Hoke County Schools, the Hoke County Public Library and the N.C. Cardinal library consortium means kids and teachers can use their school I.D. number as a digital library card to access thousands of e-books, research articles, test preparation materials and much more.

Last year the Hoke County Public Library – as part of the Sandhills Regional Library System – joined the statewide N.C. Cardinal consortium. One benefit from the partnership offers students and teachers in participating school districts access to lots of resources without having to sign up for a traditional library card.

“The students and the staff and teachers can use their school I.D. number, their student I.D. number, as their library card number,” Hoke Library Director Sheila Brown-Evans explained.

While the library can provide families with a traditional library card for their child, this way provides easy, quick access to lots of materials as part of a much larger network. There are journals, books and lots more digital resources that a single library couldn’t afford to offer, Brown-Evans said.

Karen Nichols, Digital Technology Instructional Facilitator for Hoke County Schools, said the effort is meant to reach those families who aren’t able to come to the library.

“Those students that can get here, already come here (to the library),” Nichols said. “This is going to reach those students who maybe don’t have transportation, who live in the far reaches of the county.”

The school system has provided each student with an iPad or Chromebook, and an internet hotspot where necessary to help them stay connected. With those devices and their I.D. number, kids don’t need to catch a ride into Raeford to access a wealth of digital books.

There are many other resources available, too. For instance, the collaboration also offers access to N.C. Live, a treasure trove of databases and helpful information.

“There’s a whole section just on homework help,” Brown-Evans said.

The N.C. Kids Digital Library, an Overdrive product for children, is notable because it allows simultaneous use of some books. For example, if an entire classroom is reading “Charlotte’s Web,” and if that particular book is available for simultaneous use, all of the students can virtually check out the title. That’s notably different from how most digital library books work: usually e-books can only be checked out by one person at a time.

Students will be able to go to the Hoke County Schools website for an access link. Then they’ll use their I.D. number to log in. Their password is automatically set up to be the last four digits of the I.D. number.

[This story has been updated to clarify that only some titles on the N.C. Kids Digital Library – and not necessarily “Charlotte’s Web” in particular – are available for simultaneous use.]

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