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Partnership boosting access to library resources

PITTSBORO, N.C. — A partnership between Chatham County Schools (CCS) and Chatham County Public Libraries will enable the school system’s students to use their school-issued identification number to access library resources. The joint effort is called Chatham PASS (Public library Access for Student Success). A kickoff event for it is Oct. 7 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Wren Memorial Library, 500 N. Second Avenue in Siler City. 

Chatham County Schools “This is a game changer for students. They get access to check out 10 books and/or audiobooks at a time, as well as electronic resources if they can’t physically make it to a Chatham County Public Libraries branch,” CCS chief information and technology officer Keith Medlin said.

Letters about the program went home to all CCS families during the second week of September. Information about the partnership also will be shared during the kickoff, which will feature a performance of ”Rapunzel,” presented by Durham’s Rags to Riches Theatre for Young Audiences.

“From the library’s perspective, Chatham PASS is an important step in reducing barriers to information and library resources and services. Our goal in this partnership is to further our mission of being an integral part of the community while encouraging reading, lifelong learning and by providing opportunities for learning and growing,” Chatham County Public Libraries director Linda Clarke said.Chatham County   

Chatham PASS accounts do not accrue overdue fines for late items, Clarke said.  

“This can sometimes cause reluctance to return to the library to check out additional materials,” she said.

The partnership began during the summer of 2018 with students from Pittsboro Elementary School, Virginia Cross Elementary School and J.S. Waters School participating in a pilot program during the 2018-19 school year. Families had the option to opt out of the program but overwhelmingly chose to participate.

Public libraries are one of the great equalizers for communities because they offer a wealth of programs and resources at no charge, regardless of the socioeconomic status of library patrons. Chatham PASS aims to broaden the library’s audience, reduce barriers to access and support literacy among CCS students.

Additional details about Chatham Pass may be found at or by contacting someone at one of the public library branches in PittsboroSiler City or Goldston.
Published Sept. 23, 2019