The Chicago Public Library (CPL) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) have entered into a collaboration to expand public library access for more than 322,000 CPS students and 21,000 teachers in 648 schools. The program, the 81 Club, provides a wide array of CPL resources for students and teachers as well as a specialized library card for students. This joint initiative will enable more students to access key learning resources, both in and out of school.
Teachers and students will have access to CPL’s online services and databases both in class and outside of school, allowing more fluid and expansive learning experiences. Students with an 81 Club card will be able to check out five physical items at a time, such as books, DVDs, and magazines. Overdrive Public Library CONNECT, a national initiative, will allow students to access CPL’s age-appropriate eBooks and eAudiobooks, in addition to their school’s digital collection, through the program. This physical and digital access for both teachers and students helps teachers streamline classroom instruction.
“The 81 Club provides access to library materials and resources anywhere a student learns,” said CPL Commissioner Chris Brown. “This initiative removes barriers for all Chicago students to obtain a library account, enabling us to reach the students who most need our services.”
The 81 Club offers a multi-tiered approach for CPL and CPS to remove barriers to reach all students. Students will learn how to connect to the extended CPL catalog in school, through their CPS Sora app. In the classroom, teacher accounts will provide easier access to CPL digital resources, permitting instructors to teach directly from CPL databases. Library staff can recommend specific resources for teachers to access in their classrooms. The 81 Club provides meaningful opportunities for collaboration among educators, school administrators, and librarians to enrich CPS students’ learning experiences.
Card registration is easy, and students can register without identification or parent signature. It gives students greater autonomy to check out materials, especially those who previously could not access library resources because of issues with a regular library card or lack of parental involvement. Students with an 81 Club card also can use regular CPL cards for expanded access to materials and special items.
“We’re grateful and excited to launch this new partnership with Chicago Public Library,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “This partnership expands our students’ access to the wealth of resources, from digital to print materials, offered through CPL’s 81 amazing library branches, which inspire and support literacy and lifelong learning opportunities.”
CPL has created and distributed eTeach cards for CPS instruction. Students may visit their local libraries to pick up a newly designed 81 Club library card.
For complete program information and events, visit chipublib.org/81Club.