Rochester Hills Public Library Invited to Join White House’s ConnectED Initiative

Every child deserves the chance to learn and thrive in an environment that is enriched by the latest technology. Two years ago President Obama announced ConnectED, a signature initiative focused on transforming teaching and learning through digital connectivity and content. On April 30, the President announced two new efforts to strengthen learning opportunities by improving access to digital content and to public libraries: new eBooks commitments and the ConnectED Library Challenge.

The press release went on to say that the first is a commitment from publishers to find ways to make sure their content is available to youth in America. Major publishers are announcing they will make over $250 million in free eBooks available to students. Complementing that effort, the ConnectED Library Challenge is a commitment by more than 30 communities, including the Rochester Hills Public Library and the Clinton-Macomb Public Library here in Michigan.

“We were honored to be one of 30 libraries nationwide invited to participate in this ConnectED initiative,” said Rochester Hills Public Library Director Christine Lind Hage. “By putting a library card into every student’s hand students will have access to the learning resources and books they can read for pleasure, all available through their local public library.”

When a representative from the White House called and asked the Rochester Hills Public Library to work with our mayor and school superintendent, to create or strengthen partnerships so that every child enrolled in school can receive a library card it was easy to say, “Yes!” reported Hage.

Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett was quick to lend his support by stating, “We have many things to be thankful for in Rochester Hills, but at the top of the list are our first-rate school districts and outstanding public library. In addition to all the positive feedback residents provide, I can personally attest to merits of these excellent organizations as my family and I are frequent library users and my sons are students in Rochester Community Schools. Rochester Hills is a city of innovators and learners, and we have exceptional resources in both the Rochester Hills Public Library and Rochester Community Schools.”

The Rochester Community School District is also committed to supporting student learning through opportunities that develop language, reading, and critical thinking skills. These initiatives include increased access to digital resources, such as eBooks and online collections of media, and enhanced broadband connectivity and wireless access within school facilities.

“At Rochester Community Schools, we are dedicated to enhancing literacy-learning opportunities for all students, Kindergarten through 12th grade,” said Rochester Community School District Superintendent Robert Shaner. “By increasing the broadband width, our teachers and students can utilize available technology to augment and personalize learning in the classroom, both now and in the future.”

As part of the project the Rochester Hills Public Library has partnered with the Rochester Community Schools in a program called One Card. The new program ensures that all 14,000 students have a public library card and therefore 24-hour access to online databases, which can be used to fulfill homework assignments and support creative research on the part of students.

The new commitments the President announced will help ensure the smartphone or tablet that is increasingly a part of students’ lives is also a teaching tool outside the classroom that encourages kids to become lifelong readers.

Major publishers are committing to make available thousands of popular and award-winning titles to students over a three-year period.  These contributions will create a new book collection for students aged 4-18. Students from all demographics will be able to access the public domain titles, whose cover art and typography will be freshly designed by world-class designers and artists.

President Obama recognizes the critical role that libraries play as trusted community anchors that support learning and connectivity at all times and many different paces. In fact, more than 70 percent of libraries report that they are the only providers of free public internet access in their community. Like many modern challenges, improving education for all children requires key leaders to collaborate in new and powerful ways. Libraries are uniquely positioned to continue to build programs and partnerships that bridge the divide between schools and homes and provide educational services to every person in the community.

Communities adopting the ConnectED Library Challenge include: Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Clinton-Macomb, Columbus, Cuyahoga, D.C., Denver, Hartford, Hennepin County, Howard County, Indianapolis, Madison, Milwaukee, New Haven, Oakland, Pierce County, Pima, Pocatello, Pueblo City, Ramsey County, Columbia, Rochester Hills, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, Skokie, and St. Louis.

The Rochester Hills Public Library is located off of University Drive and three blocks east of Main Street.  The Library is open from 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.  The Library’s website has information on how to register for a card and access all the Library’s services.

 

About Sarah Hovis

Word manipulator, arts appreciator, sports spectator, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at sarah@rochestermedia.com.

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