Burbank city and school officials are trying to make it easier for students to check out books from any of the local public libraries using just one ID.
The City Council unanimously approved Tuesday a memorandum of agreement with Burbank Unified to launch a program called BConnectED, in which student identification cards can be used at any Burbank public library to check out materials and use online research resources.
The joint initiative will launch in August as a pilot program and will only include sixth-grade students initially. If successful, the program could roll out to other grade levels, said Elizabeth Goldman, the city's library services director.
"Sixth-grade students were selected as the pilot group for two reasons," she said. "First, they are at a point in schooling where the library's research materials become more relevant to the curriculum, and second, for the simple reason that they have student IDs and are likely to be carrying them around."
The name of the program stems from a project launched in 2015 by President Barack Obama called the ConnectED Library Challenge, which asked school districts and municipalities to work together to help children gain access to educational resources, Goldman said.
A barrier stood in the way of allowing Burbank students access the city's libraries. Goldman said that children under 18 years old are not able to register for a library card without being accompanied by a parent or guardian.
"The goal of BConnectED is to remove this barrier by automatically setting BUSD students up for public-library access as part of their school registration process," Goldman said.
Understanding that some parents might be concerned about their child's information being sent to the city, Goldman said that parents can choose to opt out their child from the program.
Parents with children who will be going into sixth grade in the fall will be notified about the program through the school registration packet they will receive this spring, Goldman said.
Tom Kissinger, assistant superintendent of instructional services for Burbank Unified, said district officials are excited to team up with the city to give students access to research materials to help with their studies.
"It really represents a community coming together to support children," he said.