Ecards lead to success for students

As students begin the 2020-2021 school year, Elkhart Public Library is delivering them with one tool that will help them achieve academic success both virtually and at school.

For the fifth full school year, students in the Elkhart and Concord school systems, as well as participating private schools, will receive an ecard from EPL in the next couple of weeks. The 14-digit number and PIN provides access to EPL’s Digital Library and online resources for homework, studying, research and entertainment.

School librarians say that ecards allow them to stretch their budgets, get popular books into students’ hands and open students’ eyes to new research methods beyond Google.

“Kids get a lot of resources that have been filtered through sources, so the primary resources are great,” says Kelly Isenbarger, a teacher library at Concord Middle School.

Gale Virtual Reference Library is my favorite because they have the primary resource books.”

During the last school year, Isenbarger says she helped some classes with a history research assignment using Britannica and Gale.

“There’s so many links off of there,” says Isenbarger. “It helps our school because these kids are so knee-jerk to Google stuff and if you get them out of just Googling it, then you’re going to open yourself up to other resources.

It’s open their eyes that there’s curated resources that will make research easier.”

For Ox Bow Elementary school librarian Sarah Hooley, it helps her stretch her budget because it allows students to get copies of popular books through Hoopla or Libby/Overdrive rather than having to purchase more books.

“This is a great way to get them exposed to some books that we can’t get into the library yet,” Hooley says.

Hooley also says ecards are great for students to be able to read at home since they can access it from anywhere and they have access even if they have lost library items.

“If we have a kid that lost a book and they can’t check out from our shelves, it gives them another option to read at home and keep that reading going,” she says.

Hoopla also gets students to audiobooks, says Hooley, something that the school doesn’t have.

“Maybe the kids don’t have the time or the attention for a longer book like that and it still gives them access to it and try it and get that excitement growing,” she says.

For both Isenbarger and Hooley, they say that their love of the ecard access goes beyond access for their students, both said they use Hoopla and other digital resources personally.

“I’m super grateful for the ecards,” says Isenbarger.