Teachers share their favorite ecard resources

Heading into its eighth school year, Elkhart Public Library’s ecard program makes a difference.  

The library helps students by giving online access to quality research materials and homework help. That, in turn, saves schools some money. 

“I like that it introduces students to the library and gives them a way in,” says April Zehr, Concord High School media center specialist. “They use them in several ways with test prep, homework, reading for pleasure. I know that’s a big way that they use it.” 

School librarians like Zehr and Kelly Isenbarger of Concord Junior High School’s media center said they appreciate the variety of resources offered by ecards. They added students love that they can find entertainment and, more importantly, help for finishing assignments quicker. 

“The kids are amazed that it’s just given to them,” says Isenbarger. “It gets them to think about taking advantage of the public library.” 

Here are a few of the resources school librarians told us they like best. 

Hoopla and Libby  
Kara Weirich, Concord East Side Elementary School: She says she uses these services to introduce audiobooks to students. “I play the first chapter from (an) audiobook to … get them interested in different chapter books, especially series,” Weirich says. 

April Zehr, Concord High School: She says introducing audiobooks to reluctant readers at the high-school level gives students options. “I know sometimes there are students that would rather listen to a book than read it. Audiobooks provide an alternative” she says. 

Kelly Isenbarger, Concord Junior High School: She says the variety on Libby and the on-demand availability with Hoopla helps her expand reading options for students. “It makes our library just that much bigger,” Isenbarger says. “Graphic novels are expensive and it’s hard to buy that many.” She adds she’s had reading groups use Hoopla to get multiple copies when the school library may only have one on the shelf. 

Gale Virtual Reference Library 
Isenbarger: “It’s just a lot of information condensed into one place. The non-fiction – anything research related – I leave to the ecards. … We try to get it into kids (into research and academic-level work) that you just can’t Google the answers.” 

Points of View Reference 
Zehr: She says this resource works great for English classes working on persuasive writing. 

AtoZ Databases 
Zehr: This resource comes in handy for business classes and specialty classes like Jobs for American Graduates, she says. 

Biography Reference Center 
Brittany Griggs, St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School: The librarian says fourth graders used BRC for their Indiana historical figures wax museum project. “Their starting point was their ecards,” she says. 

Zehr: High school students looking for help preparing for college entry exams find this resource useful. “I’ve tried to push this to students looking for test help,” she says. 

Zehr: The familiar encyclopedia has loads of uses, she says. She uses it for English classes, English as a New Language students, and even with Jobs for American Graduates classes. 

Ecards are available to all students in Elkhart and Concord schools, as well as participating private schools in EPL’s service area. For more information, contact EPL at reference@myepl.org or call 574-522-5669.