Keystone Oaks School District News Article

Keystone Oaks offers free library card program in partnership with the Allegheny County Library Association

My name is Annie McGaughey and I am the librarian at Keystone Oaks High School. I, along with the librarians in our district and our three community libraries, the Community Library of Castle Shannon, the Dormont Public Library, and the Green Tree Public Library, am thrilled to announce that we will be partnering with the Allegheny County Library Association in order to provide library cards to every student in the Keystone Oaks School District! We are in the process of putting everything together, and expect to celebrate and distribute cards to our students this spring. I look forward to sharing more information in the coming months, but I wanted to give some basic information and answer questions the community may currently have. Additionally, please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any other questions you may have about this program at (412) 571-6091, or my email, [email protected].

What is this program?

Started in the spring of 2021, the Allegheny County Library Association (ACLA), piloted a program with the Woodland Hills and West Allegheny School Districts to provide a barrier-free access to all of the resources in the library system of Allegheny County. These cards gave students the ability to check out books from any library in the county, as well as access to all of the digital resources the Carnegie Library System has to offer, including ebooks, audiobooks, informational databases, and more. This pilot was a success and increased the use of all resources by students, and the program is now being expanded to more schools across the county and the state.

Why should my student have a library card?:

  • Research shows that children who have library cards and use them perform better in school.

  • Children who use the library while they are young are more likely to continue using the library beyond high school, setting the stage for lifelong learning.

  • Public library staff can help students perform age-appropriate information searches and utilize web-based resources, and provide access to free, public access computers.

  • Children and teens can find fun programming and groups just for them, including book clubs, maker space, STEAM activities, games and more.

What if my student already has a library card?

That’s great! Throughout this process, your student’s already existing account will be merged with this student account, allowing them any future benefits our student accounts may get that regular accounts do not. For example, our student cards will allow day-to-day late fees to be waived at the Community Library of Castle Shannon, a perk that regular library cards do not have (does not apply to lost library materials). This will not affect any past reading lists or books they have saved.

You mentioned late fees, what is the process for that?

Our district library cards will allow students to check out books without fear of receiving a fine for each day that an item is returned late, however, account holders will still be responsible for the timely return of all materials. If a library material is deemed as lost, a replacement fee can still be applied and is owed by the student and their family. A material is deemed lost when it is overdue for three checkout cycles. For example:  

Items that can be checked out for 2 weeks at a time = lost at 6 weeks overdue

Items that can be checked out for 3 weeks at a time = lost at 9 weeks overdue

Before a book is considered lost, students will receive a courtesy email three days before a book is due, as well as two overdue notices informing them that they will soon be responsible for replacing the item. The student’s district email address will be the default way to receive these notices once accounts are created. You are welcome to log in and add any additional phone numbers or email addresses if you would like these notices to arrive a different way.

What if my student loses their library card?

We will be incorporating our district’s student id number used for lunches into their library card account so that they may still access materials while a card is lost. Student’s library card numbers will also be added to powerschool so that the librarian in their individual building can look it up as well.

What can my student do with a library card?

Having a library card expands students' resources beyond what we have in each of our buildings. With their card, students can access:

  • Desktop computers with MS Office and other creative software as well as high-speed internet and Wi-Fi.

  • Quiet study/tutor rooms.

  • Online resources and research tools.

  • Books, magazines, audio books, board games, DVDs, music, and video games;

  • Library programs tailored for age groupings

  • An array of technology or unique items for checkout, including learning manipulatives, snap circuits, PBS Kids tablets, Kindles, Ozobot kits, and so much more.

We encourage you to visit your local library once the cards have been handed out to explore specific resources that may be available in addition to the ones listed above.

I have other questions you have not answered here, how do I reach you?

I would love to be able to answer any other questions you may have about this program that I feel will greatly benefit our students. I can be reached by phone at (412) 571-6091, or by email at [email protected]

I would not like my student to receive a library card.
Every student will, by default, be enrolled into this program. If you do not want your student to receive a library card, please contact Annie McGaughey by phone at (412) 571-6091, or by email at [email protected] before the end of the day on Tuesday, November 29th.

We are so excited to be bringing this program to our district and appreciate the support from our community!

The librarians of the Keystone Oaks School District

Annie McGaughey

Keystone Oaks High School

Allyson Hepler

Keystone Oaks Middle School

Lauren Johnson

Fred L. Aiken Elementary School, Dormont Elementary School

Cindy Holden

Myrtle Elementary School

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