HISD, Houston Public Library create virtual library card

The Houston Independent School District announced on Monday with the Houston Public Library that every HISD student can now access numerous library resources at school and home through a new virtual library card known as the Learning Link.

Through the Learning Link, students will have free, 24/7 access to the Houston Public Library’s assortment of books and resources at any library location, and at school and home through the district’s HUB, HISD’s online teaching and learning platform. Students can use a laptop, tablet or smart phone to access more than one million books, e-books, magazines and research materials, as well as online resources and complimentary Wi-Fi. All HISD students will be automatically enrolled in the program and can use their student ID as their library account number to access these resources.

The Learning Link is a collaborative effort between HISD, the Houston Public Library, the City of Houston, and H-E-B as part of the White House ConnectED Challenge that aims to link students to the essential resources they need for achieving success—in school, future careers, and daily life.

“The district along with the city and our education partners have successfully come together to address one of the challenges our students face with literacy, and that’s access to more books and research materials,” said HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza. “We want to see more of our students reading on grade level and finding joy in reading, but we cannot do this work alone. We have to encourage our students to believe in the power of literacy because literacy is an important investment in their future.”

The partnership supports the work of HISD’s Literacy by 3 initiative to ensure that all students read on or above grade level by third grade. The program also supports the district’s Literacy in the Middle initiative, which applies the same components from Literacy by 3 to middle schools by boosting school libraries with more non-fiction books and digital resources and by focusing on independent reading, writing, read alouds, and small group instruction.

Students from Ketelsen, C. Martinez, and Sherman elementary schools, Marshall Middle School, and Northside High School attended Monday’s program to announce the partnership. Also in attendance were HISD Board of Education Trustees Wanda Adams and Rhonda Skillern-Jones, HISD Chief Academic Officer Dr. Grenita Lathan, Houston City Council Member Karla Cisneros, City of Houston Director of Education Juliet Stipeche, and H-E-B Vice President of Public Affairs and Diversity Winell Herron.

“Bringing libraries and schools together has everyone win,” said Houston Public Library Director Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson at the program. “Libraries foster curiosity and a love of reading, and provide innovative tools to spark exploration and learning during and beyond school hours. This collaboration between the mayor, HPL, H-E-B and HISD is designed to open doors to expanded opportunities for our children and provide skills that will last a lifetime, cultivating them into successful and engaged adults of tomorrow.”