Empower Cards expand students’ access to key library resources

in Community/Education

The Empower Card, a new library card that aims to simplify and expand student access to library resources, has been launched by the San Mateo County Libraries and Redwood City Public Library.

Powered by the libraries’ online resources, the cards link multi-aged students to learning tools for use in the classroom/home, including online tutoring, online test preparation, eBooks, eMagazines, research journals, apps for language learning and meditation and read-along digital storybooks, per the San Mateo County Libraries in a statement.

San Mateo County Supervisor Warren Slocum said that giving students access to the card “will fuel academic success and revolutionize how students use the public library.” Noting that the cards “break down barriers to library access and address inequities in resources,” he added that, by sending library cards directly to families, they will “open the door to an incredible amount of online and in-person resources.”

The libraries have kicked off the effort of issuing the cards to school districts, ultimately looking to provide them by year-end to all 62,202 students who are enrolled in districts served by the libraries.

According to the statement, the Empower Cards have expanded upon past efforts to connect libraries with Peninsula schools to issue more than 13,200 library cards to youth.

San Mateo County Libraries Director Anne-Marie Despain said that the hope is that the pilot “can grow into something that has long-lasting reach in the lives of local students.” She said that there is excitement “to get more resources to students to support their learning journey.”