(Marietta, Ga. – January 16) Starting officially today, Cobb County Public Library digital and print resources are accessible for the county’s more than 120,000 public school students through the initiative called Library PASS – Public Library Access for Student Success.
The new initiative, a partnership of the Cobb County Public Library with the Cobb County and Marietta City school districts, represents one of the largest programs of its kind in the United States targeting expansion of the reach of public library resources. PASS links K-12 student identification numbers to the new PASS accounts for online connections to the Cobb public library from the home, classroom or library.
Lisa Cleary, Community Engagement Manager for Cobb libraries, said expanding access to the Cobb library is a major step for improving educational attainment levels in the county, especially for students with limited opportunities to visit libraries in person. All students have access to school media center resources, yet only about one-fourth have Cobb library cards, she added.
Through Library PASS accounts, area public school students may checkout books and eBooks, and explore online resources like research publications on science, history, technology and more.
Officials with the library system and schools spent several months developing PASS and preparing teachers and school staffs for the PASS launch. The collaboration between the public library and schools is bolstered by the relationships the three organizations developed for annual Summer Reading programs and other joint initiatives throughout the year.
Cobb County Schools Library Media Education Supervisor Holly Frilot said the groundwork for Library PASS involved many local meetings, discussions with library institutions in other states, and the involvement of several departments in the three partner organizations.
“We strive every day to improve and enhance the digital and print literacy skills of our students – skills that are crucial for success in school, career, and life,” Frilot said. “The PASS partnership directly speaks to this goal.”
Marietta High School Library Media Specialist Laura Gary-Michel said PASS is a gateway to numerous research and reading resources in the library system for students. The students are excited about all Library PASS offers them, she added.
“Students’ independent reading choices have now grown exponentially,” Gary-Michel said. “We’ve more than quadrupled their book and eBook choices.”
Students at schools throughout Cobb County are eager to use the public library resources now available through PASS, officials said.
“When it was announced to the library media specialists that the PASS partnership was ready for students, the entire group burst into cheers and applause,” said Frilot of Cobb County Schools. “They know the power of access and are championing it with their staff and students any chance they get.”
Library PASS represents the commitment of the Cobb community to promote young people connecting to educational resources and will provide a lifelong benefit, said Deputy County Manager Dr. Jackie McMorris.
“Reading is the key that unlocks the door to creativity, curiosity, and exploration,” said Dr. McMorris. “This partnership represents a dynamic demonstration of our commitment to life-long learning.”