ROCKINGHAM — A first-of-its-kind statewide eBook consortium specifically for children has launched in the Tar Heel State. The North Carolina Public Library Directors Association, together with OverDrive and the state of North Carolina, has created a new digital resource sharing service for kids pre-K through fourth grade — NC Kids Digital Library.
More than 3,700 eBooks, audiobooks, videos and read-alongs are now available to younger readers via 85 regional, county and municipal libraries in North Carolina through OverDrive’s digital reading platform. These materials are instantly available for every child, at home and everywhere.
The NC Kids Digital Library was launched in January, 2017. Here’s how it works:
• A beginning collection of 3029 eBooks, 689 audiobooks and 37 streaming videos on a custom website, https://nckids.overdrive.com/ or through the OverDrive app.
• 300 titles are available with simultaneous access, available anytime with no wait lists.
• All titles can be accessed via the app on all major computers and devices, including iOS, Android, Chromebook and Kindle (U.S. only).
• Easy, secure access. All that’s needed to get started is a library card.
“This is exciting news for our region, and our children,” Jesse Gibson, director of the Sandhill Regional Library System, said in a statement. “Titles can be checked out 24/7, and are free of charge to all SRLS library card holders.”
Gibson said those without a card can get one at their local library branch, adding that NC Kids can also be accessed via a SRLS eCard, which will also give readers access to all online services, including NC Live, eMagazines, eBooks, and eAudio books.
“Best of all, there is never any overdue fees on electronic materials!” he said.
According to Gibson, for those who already have a library card, there is no need to sign up for an eCard. Information and eCard registration can be found at www.srls.info , or call by calling your local branch.
“Reading fiction increases empathy, improves social behavior and interactions, increases awareness of how others think and see the world, improves overall mental ability, and enhances the ability to handle complex situations,” said Jennifer Sackett, vice president of NCPLDA. “Having these resources available through the public libraries which are open year-round and hours schools aren’t open mean we’re available to assist students when schools are not open.”
OverDrive’s collection development team chooses the books for the kids collection, which are reviewed and approved by a committee appointed by the NCPLDA Executive Board. Many eBooks list the ATOS level and text difficulty to help parents find the right book for their child’s reading level.
“This content will align with summer-reading camps across the state, as well as the state’s third-grade reading initiative, and will provide a significant boost to the many library-school partnerships already in existence,” said Ruth Ann Copley, director of the Davidson County Public Library System.
NC Kids Digital Library is sponsored by NCPLDA and the N.C. General Assembly with assistance from the State Library of N.C., a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
Copley, together with Sackett, worked with State Rep. Pat McElraft, R-Carteret, to secure funding for this project. In July of last year, the 2016 Appropriations Act was signed into law for fiscal year 2016-2017 that included a funding provision for $200,000 for the State Library to work with NCPLDA to create a statewide consortium for all public library cardholders.