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Written by Kelly Sheehy, Content Specialist, Downtown Main Library

Imagine it’s the Lunar New Year, or Black History Month, or Dia De Los Muertos, or Valentine’s Day. No matter the occasion, from national holidays to thematic concepts, the Library has educational resources and materials that aren’t typically provided by schools. 

To help fill this gap in supplemental materials, the Library gives teachers special access to our collection, giving students the opportunity to take their education on a particular subject beyond the textbook. For example, an elementary school teacher beginning a unit on empathy could select books about kindness to put in their classroom to help drive the point home.

A teacher talking about the history and ramifications of slavery has access to documentaries to screen like other cardholders, but they also have special access to books, eBooks, and audiobooks in amounts not available to the general public.
There are four types of collections teachers can request: general collections geared towards a specific grade or reading level; themed collections based on a specific topic; sets of the same fiction or nonfiction book for the whole class; and independent reading collections based on accelerated, leveled, or guided reading.

“Teacher use books and other materials in their classrooms for a variety of reasons,” said Susan Wood, Library Services Specialist in the Outreach Department who helps field educator requests. “Some have accelerated readers who need access to more challenging books. Some use the Library collections for book report assignments, while others like to have them on display in the classroom to encourage general browsing or quiet reading time. Teachers curate collections for their curriculums, group study, and storytimes too.”

By simply filling out a form with two weeks lead time, teachers can have materials delivered to their schools by using their educator Library card. In order to qualify for delivery, five educators from the same school must submit collection requests. If there are not five, the branch can still pull the materials and the teacher can pick them up or wait for more teachers from their school to sign up. 

Besides collections and a special Library card, teachers also have access to a host of Library perks created for them. They have access to email and telephone support at any time for book, documentary, and movie recommendations. Downloadable cards are available for classes using electronic devices or Playaway audiobooks. And just like the public, they enjoy free access to all Library databases and online resources, such as KidSpace.

The best part? You don’t have to teach a traditional classroom setting to qualify for a card! The Library defines educators as substitute teachers, student teachers, traditional school teachers from preschool on up, school librarians, home school instructors, certified Type-B in-home childcare providers, and adult day care workers. The educator card allows cardholders to check out up to 200 items (except videocassettes and DVDs), request teacher collections and delivery, and access downloadable materials.

The Library understands that access to knowledge is fundamental. Providing educators with more materials to spread knowledge and enrich young minds is something that brings us great pride. 

Please note: Materials borrowed with an educator card will not accumulate fines, but become overdue after the final renewal date. After the final renewal date, card privileges may be suspended. Contact your Children’s Librarian for additional information about educator cards. To request a teacher collection click here.