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Free Library Card

Thursday, February 20, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Mark Estes
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February 18, 2020


Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) has introduced legislation at the California State Capitol to create a new initiative that would provide library cards to all K-12 students.  The bill, SB 1025-Umberg, is dubbed the “California Student Success Act” and is intended to require a school district, county office of education or charter school to enter into a Memorandu of Agreement (MOA) with a library district for the purpose of providing every enrolled student with a “student success card” (library card).  The State Library would be tasked with drafting the model MOA. 

In a corresponding press release issued by Senator Umberg, he stated, “In today’s media market, images, headlines, and stories reach people at an astounding speed – so it’s more important than ever that we, as policymakers, ensure that disseminated information is factual and supported by empirical evidence…We owe our children the ability to wade through the morass by learning effective research and study skills – unfettered access to our public library systems is a relatively easy way to accomplish this.”   State Librarian Greg Lucas also was quoted in the press release, stating, “Wherever you are, whoever you are, however old you are, every student benefits from having a public library card.  It’s a key not just to success in school, but in life.”  Finally, Los Angles City Librarian John Szabo added, in speaking of L.A’s “game changing” program:  “Our program ensures that every child in the nation’s second largest school district has access to all of our amazing digital resources as well as the collections and services in our neighborhood libraries.  This kind of exposure sparks a lifelong relationship with the library.” 

CLA has been actively involved in early discussions regarding SB 1025 and looks forward to working with Senator Umberg and the K-12 school community on this important piece of legislation.  SB 1025 will be heard in its first policy committee, Senate Education Committee, in late March or early April.  Some key components of the legislation are:

·      A Memorandum of Agreement shall be effective for 5 years and may be renewed.

·      A library and school district that currently have a Memorandum of Agreement in existence by December 31, 2020 may retain that MOA and continue to operate under that agreement.

·      A pupil’s school-issued ID number shall be be used as the library account number.

·      A parent or guardian may opt their pupil out of enrollment for the card.

·      Federal and state privacy laws will be in effect.

·      The MOA may include language indicating the scope of access to library resources (all, some, etc.)

·      The library must report statistics to the State Librarian regarding measurable increases in resource/materials usage, etc. by students after each five-year MOA.

·      Provisions for library staff to visit schools and make presentations regarding the library and its resources.