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All for One, and One for All: Unifying Libraries in Solano County

In the modern age, society has maximized efficiency of daily life in innumerable ways – and Fairfield Suisun Unified School District is keeping pace in an innovative way. On February 21st, 2019, Fairfield-Suisun Unified’s Assistant Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Jenn Roush, presented principals from across district with a fresh proposal: all-access libraries for FSUSD students.

Now, what does that necessarily entail? The backbone of the plan is to integrate the Solano County Library’s card system with the school district’s student ID system, which means that any student with a school ID card could check out a book from any Solano County library. These student accounts would allow three physical books to be checked out, and provide access to downloadable eBooks and audiobooks, digital magazines, and premium databases. By bridging the gap between school and public libraries, students and their families will be encouraged to visit their local library and indulge in the activities unique to the center.

The plan will utilize six pilot schools to test the waters: Cordelia Hills Elementary, Nelda Mundy Elementary, Fairview Elementary, Matt Garcia Career and College Academy, Dan O. Root Health and Wellness Academy, and Suisun Elementary. The connection libraries will be those located in Cordelia, Suisun, and the Fairfield Civic Center complex. Most people are optimistic to the future of this implementation, such as Cordelia Hills Elementary principal, Steve Trotter: “So many [students] don’t know these resources exist, or it’s so far away they’d rather not go. This card being integrated with the school will make that connection to the county library that much closer.”

The new library system integration will even help in some situations where it may not seem necessary on the surface. For instance, Suisun Elementary already has public library access, as the school is located next door to the library. Students have normal library cards instead of a student-specific equivalent. Suisun Elementary principal, Ann Marie Neubert, expressed her thoughts, “The downfall for us was because of the public library card, if somebody else checked out stuff underneath that student’s card – the fines, and the fees, could limit the student’s access.” Roush’s plan would prevent parental or sibling usage of a student’s access. The student ID only system will erase Suisun Elementary students’ need for a public library card. Neubert recognizes this positive change and looks forward to the results of the demo run.

By bringing students and public libraries together, the partnership between institutions will grow stronger to the benefit of every student in FSUSD. Libraries can provide learning and leadership opportunities unavailable anywhere else, and every student who yearns for more knowledge will have the access they need. It might take a village to raise a child – but it only takes one ID card to give a child the world.