Students in the growing North Rock Creek school district have not only a new school this fall, but will have more engagement opportunities with their local library thanks to a new partnership with the Pioneer Library System.

The North Rock Creek school district’s 748 each have received a Pioneer Library System library card to use in Shawnee or any of the other 11 branches of the library system.

A similar setup has been in place for many years between Pioneer and the Norman Public Schools, where each of that district’s approximately 16,000 students get a school-issued library card they also may use for PLS activities.

Those aren’t just limited to the tried-and-true favorite of checking out books but also services like Hoopla and Kanopy, which feature thousands of downloadable eBooks, audiobooks and movies, as well as multiple databases that library card holders can use for learning.

“The library isn’t just about checking out books, but we have great resources to help you with homework and school projects,” said Shalla Strider, Children’s Services Manager at the Shawnee Public Library. “And you can think of Hoopla or Kanopy as being kind of like a free Netflix account.”

Strider worked with North Rock Creek’s district librarian, Paige Dan, for a number of months on the plan to provide cards to all students in the district.

Dan, along with Mandi McDonald, who is the high school librarian at North Rock Creek, have worked closely with Pioneer for some time on many partnerships, including the establishment of PLS library cards for all students.

That will serve benefits for the students of the North Rock Creek district, located just north of Interstate 40 and east of state highway 18 is growing, quite literally. Until this school year it served students in kindergarten through 8th grade.

A building west of the longtime school site is in use for middle school students, with another wing housing the first high school students from North Rock Creek this school year. The 10th-grade class of about 80 students is on track to mark the school’s first group of North Rock Creek High School graduates in the spring of 2022.

Strider spent a day near the end of the school year visiting classrooms and meeting many students, including a 9th-grade English class taught by MacDonald, who was the district’s Middle School Teacher of the Year for 2018-19. The group took a break from a spirited discussion of the George Orwell novel “Animal Farm” to learn a little more about their new library cards.

Then Stride returned to visit students in their new school building in late August, shortly after the start of North Rock Creek’s first full year as a high school.

She made the push to administrators in the Pioneer Library System last fall as part of an initiative within the system called “Big Ideas,” where staff members are empowered to make proposals and forward-thinking ideas that they believe could help serve their communities beyond current practices already in place.

“We saw a great opportunity to come in partnership with a school district that is growing and really help their students take advantage of the many services we offer,” Strider said.

Find out more about the programs and services of the Shawnee Public Library by going online to www.pioneerlibrarysystem.org/shawnee, or by calling 275-6353.