- August 20, 2014
Taylor Ciraolo, the media specialist at Carlos E. Haile Middle School, always wanted to have a school-wide book battle, but she didn’t have enough copies of the same book or the resources to provide it to every student.
Now, with the new All Access Pass through the Manatee County Public Library System, Ciraolo has the ability to assign an eBook to each student in the school to read if they want to participate in the book battle.
Ciraolo hosted her first book battle Sept. 10. Students used the All Access Pass, which is an initiative that allows all School District of Manatee County K-12 students to access Manatee County Public Library System services with their student ID, to read “The Cheat” by Sarah Richman.
About 20 students read the book and compete to correctly answer the 20 questions Ciraolo created for a prize.
“It’s great they can all read the same book because they can talk about it afterward,” Ciraolo said. “It’s different when one student is reading one book. When you have a whole class of students or when you have several students reading a book at once, they get more excited because they’re able to talk about it with their friends. It’s kind of like having a Netflix show everybody’s excited about seeing because they’re all able to watch it.”
Ciraolo plans to host a book battle bi-weekly as more students get accustomed to the All Access Pass.
Through the All Access Pass, students can download thousands of eBooks, eAudiobooks, movies, music and magazines while also accessing dozens of digital resources including one-on-one tutoring and multiple databases. Students also can learn a foreign language with Mango, an online language learning software, and develop computer, career and literacy skills with LinkedIn Learning.
The All Access Pass was created to remove the physical barrier of coming to the library to get a card while expanding resources to students in their homes, classrooms or wherever they need access.
Ciraolo said transportation to the library or having the time to go to the library has been a barrier for many families, but she hopes the All Access Pass will spread awareness of the free resources available at all Manatee County libraries, including the Braden River Library in East County.
“I’m excited for them to be able to access all of it,” Ciraolo said. “There’s so many things parents and students don’t even realize (the libraries) have. Often we’ll just buy things out of convenience, but the public library provides a lot of services for free.”
The All Access Pass also gives students an opportunity to check out items through the Library of Things, which has telescopes, literacy kits, musical instruments and more, for people to use.
Melissa Morgan, the media specialist at William H. Bashaw Elementary School, and Ciraolo said this will provide opportunities to pursue individual interests and passions.
“One of the things that’s truly amazing is all of our teachers are trying to encourage our students to make sure their learning continues as they walk out the door,” Morgan said. “(The libraries) have a wealth of resources to pursue interests. It shows students that they can pursue what they are personally interested in and use the skills they are getting in school even when they are at home.”
Ciraolo said the All Access Pass can help with learning loss as students can continue to learn or review material over the summer or if they can’t be in school due to having to quarantine during the pandemic.
“They’re not missing out anymore,” Ciraolo said. “We don’t have those gaps that we used to have because that information is now accessible to them. They don’t have to wait for it to come back to school.”
Morgan hopes the pass will help develop lifelong readers in Manatee County as students become engaged in reading as K-12 students and continue their love for reading as adults.
“My goal is to empower the love of reading and exploration,” Morgan said.
Morgan said the partnership between the school district and the library system also shows students they not only have the support of their families and their schools but the community as well.
“Our school community is like this microcosm of our greater community, especially out here in East County,” Morgan said. “To be able to link them with community resources and feel like they’re truly a part of our community is empowering.”