Students in classroom holding up library cards

All of the more than 1,600 students at Apple Valley High School can now have instant access to the vast collection of online and print resources from the Dakota County Library to aid in their research and day-to-day learning both at school and at home.

The fine-free library card program is a partnership between District 196 and the Dakota County Library. The program is being piloted at Apple Valley High this fall, with plans to expand it to the district’s other high schools by the end of the school year. The Dakota County and Scott County libraries initiated a similar program at Burnsville High School last year.

The goal is to support student learning by leveraging existing public resources that the Dakota County Library offers. All District 196 high school students have iPads this year as part of the district’s commitment to provide one-to-one access to a personal learning device for all students in grades 4-12. This access will help high school students maximize use of Dakota County Library resources and will aid teachers in helping students develop dynamic information literacy skills, according to Andrew McCluskey, media specialist at Apple Valley High.

“In District 196, we are committed to preparing students to be intelligent, critical consumers of information,” McCluskey said. “This begins with providing them access to reliable information sources like those available through the Dakota County Library. We also hope that the ease of access to books will encourage students to read for enjoyment and motivate them to research and explore their own interests.”

Using their virtual library card, which consists of their district and school ID numbers for login, students can access online databases, one-on-one homework help, research tools, eBooks, audio books, electronic magazines, print books and more. The cards can be used to access resources online and at any of the nine Dakota County Library branches, four of which are located in District 196.

The program is voluntary; if students do not wish to participate, they can simply choose to not activate their virtual library card account. The fine-free cards will expire when students graduate from high school.

“We are excited by the many ways this partnership will benefit our children and their learning,” McCluskey said.

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