SW Educational Development Center expands access to reading by pooling resources

50,000 students in 100+ K-12 schools spread across six rural districts. Very few certified librarians, with part-timers with very little training and support managing most libraries. Almost nonexistent library budgets at many schools.

These were just some of the challenges facing the Southwest Educational Development Center (SEDC) in providing recreational reading resources to students in its expansive service area in southwest Utah.

“Many of our schools are in very rural areas with no access to public libraries or a school library that could meet the needs of students,” Media Mentor Chris Haught said.

A few libraries in SEDC schools had experimented with loaning out devices loaded with eBooks, but this proved unsuccessful for several reasons. There was the time spent physically managing the devices; the inability to provide students choice in what they wanted to read; and the fact that once all the titles on a device had been read, there wasn’t funding to load it with fresh content, so they often went unused.

“We knew that type of model wasn’t going to work,” Haught said. “We needed to find something that would allow us to pool resources together on a regional level.”

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