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DeKalb Public Library, City Schools of Decatur partnering to expand access to e-books, audiobooks

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DeKalb Public Library, City Schools of Decatur partnering to expand access to e-books, audiobooks

Decatur Branch of the DeKalb County Public Library. Photo by Dean Hesse.

By Lucas Hill, contributor

Decatur, GA — As educators seek more creative ways to support students’ learning, a key resource for schools is the local public library. DeKalb County Public Library and City Schools of Decatur have formed a partnership to increase students’ access to digital reading materials from the library.

Public Library CONNECT enables the students to access both the library’s and school’s e-books and audiobooks through the school’s Sora reading app, according to a press release.

The partnership provides access to a variety of age-appropriate books students can use inside the classroom, at home and anywhere. City Schools of Decatur students can borrow from both the school’s collection of classroom and recreational reading titles, and from DeKalb County Public Library’s digital collection through Sora.

Sora will automatically filter content to only include age-appropriate titles depending on each student’s grade level.

With Public Library CONNECT, students use their school credentials through Sora – rather than through a separate library card – to easily log into the library’s digital collection. Sora also supports teachers by offering classroom-specific tools like personal assignments, reading analytics and exportable notes that individualize learning.

“[Audiobooks] are more easily adapted, so you can reach more kids,” CSD School Librarian Media Specialist Ifeude Ukadike Hill told Decaturish. “We try to make sure all kids – regardless of ability – have access to age-appropriate materials…Kids with dyslexia and other learning disabilities find audiobooks better, and with e-books there are fonts that are easier for kids to read…[Sora] also makes it easier for kids to access books in their home languages and languages they are learning.”

The Sora app was named one of TIME’s Best Inventions and AASL’s 2021 Best Digital Tools for Teaching & Learning, and is available for CSD students to download through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and on Chromebooks that support the Google Play Store. It is also available for use in web browsers at https://soraapp.com.

DeKalb County Public Library Collection Management Coordinator Lesley Barber hopes this new access to e-books and audiobooks will cause kids to read more.

“[The public library] looks for books that kids enjoy and that will let them have the thrill of reading – especially for emerging readers,” Barber said. “The more access we can have, the more kids will hopefully find something they really enjoy, and can gain skills and practice those skills for their own pleasure.”

The DeKalb County community is also able to borrow and read the DeKalb County Public Library’s complete ebook, audiobook and digital magazine collection with a valid library card through the Libby app.

The library’s locally selected collection offers digital books and magazines, including bestsellers and new releases. Readers of all ages can select from almost every subject ranging from mystery, romance, children’s, business and more. The app can be used on any major device or computer, including Apple, Android, Chromebook and Kindle.

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