Student Library Cards for All

Students with access to the public library are more likely to succeed in school, develop a lifelong love of reading and continue to use the library into adulthood. However, not every student has a library card. To remove barriers, the Allegheny County Library Association is proud to announce that in the last 3.5 years more than 36,000 students (almost the seating capacity of PNC Park) in 15 school districts across Allegheny County have received library cards. 

Since fall 2021, the following school districts and libraries worked together to provide students with library cards: 

A thank-you card from a student participating in the Student Library Card project.
  • Avonworth School District (Sewickley Public Library) 
  • Baldwin Whitehall School District (Baldwin Borough Public Library and Whitehall Public Library) 
  • Bethel Park School District (Bethel Park Public Library) 
  • Brentwood School District (Brentwood Library) 
  • Carlynton School District (Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall and Crafton Public Library) 
  • Fox Chapel Area School District (Cooper-Siegel Community Library) 
  • Keystone Oaks School District (Community Library of Castle Shannon, Dormont Public Library, Green Tree Public Library) 
  • Penn Hills School District (Penn Hills Library) 
  • Pine-Richland School District (Northern Tier Regional Library) 
  • Pittsburgh Public Schools (Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh) 
  • Plum Borough School District (Plum Borough Community Library) 
  • West Jefferson Hills School District (Jefferson Hills Public Library and Pleasant Hills Public Library) 
  • West Allegheny School District (Western Allegheny Community Library) 
  • Wilkinsburg School District (Wilkinsburg Public Library) 
  • Woodland Hills School District (Braddock Carnegie Library, C.C. Mellor Memorial Library, Carnegie Free Library of Swissvale) 

Fourteen of these districts received full-access, physical library cards. These students have access to all materials provided by the public library with no limitations. One district gave digital cards to the high school students, which provided access to all eResources with the option of receiving a full-access card upon visiting the library. Participating libraries all saw an increase in circulation and eResources usage. 

Keystone Oaks School District worked with Dormont Public Library, Community Library of Castle Shannon and Green Tree Public Library to provide student library cards. Annie McGaughey, Keystone Oaks High School Librarian provided this feedback:  

“Being a part of the student library card program has opened so many doors for our students. Seeing them excited about the unique programming that our local libraries offer as well as their enthusiasm when I show them how they can access audiobooks or eBooks on their own is the reason why we do this job. Whether it is reading for recreation, or adding extra supports for their academic work, these library cards have made a monumentally positive impact in improving the learning experience of our student body, and I can only express my greatest support for the continued development of the program.” 

Thank-you cards from students in Penn Hills who received student library cards.

In addition, Baldwin Borough Public Library and Whitehall Public Library provided the Baldwin Whitehall School District with student library cards. One of the high school teachers provided this feedback:  

“Thank you so much for providing my students with library cards this year! I have seen a substantial uptick in my students’ use of the books and other educational materials that you offer the community. Their lessons have dramatically improved and their understanding of the availability of resources is a lifelong skill they are developing. ” 

Stay tuned for more updates as Allegheny County libraries continue to remove barriers and grant all children access to the opportunities present at the public library. The student library card project will also be featured on this month’s Books & Beyond segment on KDKA-TV’s Pittsburgh Today Live (March 11, 9 a.m.).