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The student public library card - a win-win

Today is the day that all our high school students get notification and instruction on their new student public library card. The card works at both the MN county libraries (Dakota and Scott) in which our school district is located and gives students access to all print and digital resources and services of a regular library card.

And it is fine-free!

The program should be a powerful enhancement to our 1:1 program and will expanded next year to include getting cards for our middle school and elementary students.

This is the message going out to our families:

Dear Parents/Guardians


I’m pleased to announce that students who will be in grades 9-12 next school year at Burnsville High School and Burnsville Alternative High School will have instant access to the vast resources of two county library systems — without having to worry about overdue fines — through a new collaboration that begins May 22.

Both Dakota County and Scott County public library systems have worked with Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 to make this happen.

Students will benefit from access to incredible resources including online one-on-one homework help, research tools, eBooks, audiobooks, movies/TV DVDs, music CDs, electronic magazines and print books.

Student cards will make public library resources a part of every student’s learning experience and leverage existing public resources to support student learning.

The card can be used online and also in library buildings. The no-fine cards will expire when students graduate.

Students have Chromebooks as personal learning devices, which gives them the ability to maximize use of the public library’s resources. We hope this encourages students to read, research and explore their interests over the summer so they return to school in the fall ready to learn.

Students will receive information about this opportunity from their language arts teachers.

For more information, email

The opportunity is voluntary. If students/families prefer to opt out, they can either not activate their accounts or send me an email at

I’m excited at the ways this will benefit your children.


Doug Johnson, Director of Technology, ISD191



To me, this is truly a win-win situation. Our students get an awareness of and access to the wonderful resources the public library provide. Research shows that the more access to reading materials, the better the chance of being a good reader. Public libraries help close the digital divide. And an increasing number of online resources offered by out public libraries means that proximity to a physical library is not required for use. And we have a greater chance of preventing the dreaded "summer slide."

It is also my hope that the result of this project is that our public libraries will build a new and larger base of library users and supporters. The fate of all libraries, not just those in schools, is being determined by how well they transition to a digital world and how well they stay relevant to today's users. Perhaps these newest users might offer constructive feedback to our public librarians to help insure this transition is successful.

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Reader Comments (4)

Wow! How did you manage to pull that off? In Illinois, we have many "unserved" populations, including part of our student body. So, since they don't pay the property taxes to fund the public library, they can't get a library card. It is frustrating. This sounds like a great program and I'm envious! Good job!

May 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAnnette Mills

Hi Annette,

I take it by your email that in order to get a library card in Illinois, you need to be a resident of the community/county that is home for the public library? Minnesota has fairly liberal policies regarding the ability interlibrary use throughout the state of public resources. My guess is that while property taxes may pay for a portion of the public library, it gets some state and federal dollars as well.


May 22, 2017 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

The secondary librarians in our school district are meeting today with our county librarians to see how we can make this happen. We tried it two years ago at my middle school, but the paperwork was incredible! I only had 6th graders do it, and it was still over 700 forms which needed to be filled out and sent to the public library. They sent back library cards, but several students didn't get them because there was missing info on the form or they had overdue fines.

I would love to follow up with you for more details after our meeting. I am hoping the public library has come up with a better plan by now!

And to Annette's comment, I was unaware that communities could limit library cards to property tax payers. I've never heard of that. In California, we stress that our public libraries only check for residency, not citizenship, so that everyone is encouraged to use the library's resources!

June 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMary Clark

Hi Mary,

I hope your meeting went well. We did a simple date export from our student information system and the public library was able to just import that into their system and create student accounts. Still a couple problems to solve (new students, super seniors, etc.) but no trees were killed in the making of this project. Let me know if you need more info.


June 2, 2017 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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