Libraries have remained open in the Berkeley County School District thanks to ClassLink and the app Sora.
Between February 19th and March 20th students have checked out 4,600 books and spent nearly 900 hours reading. This is a major increase over last month which only saw 649 books and only read for 85 hours. This increase is due to the transitions to eLearning due to school closures over coronavirus concerns.
The idea was spearheaded by Jackie Bresse-Rodenkirk, the media specialist at the Foxbank Elementary School who explained that librarians are always working on new and innovative ideas.
“Librarians are so innovative and collaborative, we’re constantly e-mailing each other about ideas and things that we want to do, and we’re also such problem-solvers that we all try to help each other,” Bresse-Rodenkirk said.
Bresse-Rodenkirk explained that the idea for easier access to library came froma student who needed easier access to audiobooks because a visual impairment made it difficult to read books. Audiobooks were too expensive for the school library to purchase on their own.
Bresse-Rodenkirk then collaborated with the State Public Library and the director of the Berkeley County Public Library, she also attended a national conference in Kentucky and learned about how schools can partner with public libraries to access their resources for their students.
Sora provides students with $115,000 worth of resources including audiobooks, regular books and also interactive ebooks.
The program was first piloted by Foxbank Elementary School and it was then put out to all of the schools in the Berkeley County School District.
Bresse-Rodenkirk said that other schools that have implanted Sora have created a shared library of digital content. She explained that the shared digital content library helps schools that possibly cannot afford a digital library have access to the content.
“Having a shared digital library for the whole district would be amazing,” she said.
When users log into Sora they are presented with two options: the Berkeley County School District and the South Carolina Low Country Consortium. The consortium allows for students to check out books from the public library and these books are shelved and unshelved and the Berkeley County School District can buy ebooks for students to use at the same time as well.
When renting books from the consortium they are still due back by a certain date however they can also renew the books too.