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Agencies team to build statewide K-12 eBook solution

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The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and WiLS teamed in 2014 to begin exploring a big idea: implementing a statewide eBook consortium for schools.
“To meet the needs of all learners, it takes away a lot of barriers by providing multiple venues of resources for students,” DPI School Library Consultant Monica Treptow said of the importance of providing schools access to eBooks in addition to traditional print texts.

Three years of diligent research and collaborative discussion followed. A common piece of feedback received during this process was that many schools weren’t currently offering eBooks because they simply lacked the start-up and ongoing funding. Cost-effective pricing would be a crucial component to the viability of the K-12 consortium.

Other key elements included:

  • To meet the reading and learning needs of all students, there must be a diverse catalog of titles available for purchase
  • Since every school has a unique device situation, the platform must be device agnostic
  • Because not every student has internet access at home, there must be a download option for offline reading
  • Participating schools must have the ability to supplement the consortium collection with titles for their individual use

After careful review, the interim board selected OverDrive Education as the Wisconsin Schools Digital Library Consortium’s (WSDLC) provider in August 2017. The collection went live Jan. 1, 2018.

The WSDLC is self-supported through a membership fee of just $1.50 per student. This grants member schools access to all purchased eBooks in the collection, either through a custom website, the OverDrive app or their own library catalog.

Almost 200 K-12 buildings signed up for the WSDLC in just a few short months. That number continues to climb.

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