Through its ConnectED program, St. Louis County Library partners with local districts and schools to provide students with free virtual library cards. These special virtual cards allow students to access hundreds of electronic resources including reference databases, academic journals, newspapers, and much more.
ConnectED cards also give students access to tools that prepare them for life beyond high school by helping them find scholarships, prepare for standardized tests, hunt for jobs and other career opportunities, build marketable skills through self-paced online courses, and develop entrepreneurial ideas into full business plans. ConnectED also offers students resources for personal growth and self-care through partnerships with services like Headspaces and apps that allow avid readers to relax anywhere with a good eBook.
So far, over 65,000 students in the St. Louis area have been issued virtual cards through the ConnectED program.
Here are just a few of the SLCL resources available for free to students and educators who have a ConnectED card:
- eMedia including Libby by OverDrive and Sora.
- Databases including Explora, NewsBank, ABCMouse, practice tests for the ACT/SAT, and more.
- eCourses including Creativebug and Mango Languages.
- Free online tutoring through Brainfuse HelpNow.
Library staff are happy to schedule in-person or virtual outreach sessions for both current and potential ConnectED partners. Call 314-994-3300 for more information.
The ConnectED program is open to all K-12 schools in the St. Louis region, including public, private, and charter schools. Students can typically begin using their new ConnectED library cards within a week of their district enrolling in ConnectED.
To participate in ConnectED, schools must sign a one-time Memorandum of Understanding with the St. Louis County Library, offer parents the opportunity to opt their student out of the program, and provide SLCL with a list of student names and ID numbers. After the initial group of cards has been created, schools may provide an updated student list as frequently as they wish. The minimum recommended update interval is once per semester.
If your school is interested in joining ConnectED, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should ConnectED student lists be submitted?
Student lists should be sent to email@example.com and should be in a CSV or Excel file format. Please include the following information: student first name, student last name, and student ID number.
Your school's Memorandum shows your preferred submission interval, but you are welcome to send student lists at any time throughout the school year. We recommend submitting lists at least once at the beginning of every semester to make sure new students who start in the middle of the school year also receive a ConnectED card.
Can educators sign up for ConnectED access?
Absolutely! Teachers, librarians, and other educators can be included when a school submits their student list for the semester. If staff do not have a unique ID number that SLCL can use to generate their library card numbers, we can assign educators a random card number.
What steps are taken to safeguard student privacy?
Public libraries like SLCL take patron privacy and data security seriously. Per the American Library Association Code of Ethics, libraries have an obligation to "protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted."
SLCL has taken additional steps beyond our usual safeguards to ensure the privacy of participants in the ConnectED program. We do not require a student's address, phone number, or verification of identity as we do to create a regular library account. Instead, we collect only a student's name and student ID number, which is used along with the school's DESE code to generate each library card number.
All student data is kept confidential as required by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This obligation is outlined in the written Memorandum of Understanding signed by each school district and St. Louis County Library.
What library card number do students use to log in?
Students use their school or district's three-digit DESE number followed by their student ID as their library card number. Schools that do not use a student ID system will have randomly generated library card numbers.
What is the default ConnectED PIN?
The default PIN is 1234. This can be changed upon request.
Do ConnectED cards expire?
Yes! ConnectED cards are renewed by a school or district at the beginning of the school year and are set to expire in the December following the end of that school year. If a card has expired, either the student's school has not sent a student list for the current school year or the student is no longer enrolled at a school or district that participates in ConnectED.
Do ConnectED accounts accrue late fines or other fees?
Because students are only accessing electronic materials that return automatically on the due date, ConnectED virtual cards are never charged late fines or billed for missing items.
Do ConnectED cards work with OverDrive's Sora app?
Yes, absolutely. Many schools are interested in having students pair their ConnectED accounts with Sora, an eMedia app created by OverDrive specifically for schools. SLCL's digital collection is fully accessible on both the free Sora Starter and full Sora platforms and can be added to a school's resources either by clicking the "Add Library" button in Sora and entering the student's library card number and PIN, or seamlessly through OverDrive's Public Library CONNECT feature.
Unlike Libby, Sora offers built-in content filtering based on BISAC code and displays only age-appropriate materials. Find out more about Sora on OverDrive's website.
Do ConnectED cards work with Hoopla and Kanopy?
Hoopla and Kanopy access is reserved for patrons with a resident card type. Students are eligible for a resident card in addition to their ConnectED card if they live in the SLCL district. To obtain a resident card, they may visit any SLCL library branch or register online here.
Applicants for a minor resident card must present their own photo identification and proof of current address or the photo identification and proof of current address of a parent, legal guardian, or other responsible adult. If the minor is at least twelve years of age, they may apply for a card without parental permission provided they are able to present the required identification. Parents and guardians should note that the minor must be physically present to be issued a card.
My student is having difficulty accessing a database. Why are they being asked to enter additional credentials beyond their library card number and PIN?
Students and teachers should make sure they use SLCL's Research a Topic portal as the starting point when working with databases. Many of our subscription databases need to be accessed through a special link, which means that using a search engine to find the database won't always lead you to the correct login page.
How can I learn more about SLCL's resources or schedule a visit from a librarian for my school?
SLCL's Reference Department is happy to schedule one-on-one appointments or set up group outreach sessions with educators, parents, or entire classrooms. During outreach, our reference librarians cover topics like research and databases, internet safety, professional development, and much, much more.
I have a student who needs immediate SLCL access for an assignment. Can you create individual ConnectED cards?
This is possible in cases of urgent need if a new or transfer student needs access before the school has sent their next card update. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the student's first name, last name, and student ID number.
A student's parent or guardian would like to have their child's ConnectED access revoked. Can you delete individual ConnectED cards?
Yes, absolutely. SLCL is happy to delete ConnectED accounts upon request.
I'm a teacher who brings my class to an SLCL location in person. What if I want my students to have physical library cards?
There are several options for teachers who take their classes on trips to the library and would like their students to be able to check out print materials at that time.
Teachers may request paper applications from their nearest branch or from library employees during school outreach. In that case, the applications would be sent home with students to obtain parent or guardian signatures. The teacher would then return the completed applications to their library branch at least one week in advance of a classroom visit. During the subsequent visit, students would be issued a physical card with a regular account type that is distinct from ConnectED.
Teachers may also be issued a classroom card to check out materials. Additionally, SLCL's Reference Department can set up an outreach session to visit a school for a library card sign-up day.
I'm a parent or guardian who visits the library with my child. Can we check out materials on my child's ConnectED account?
Because ConnectED cards are created for virtual access, patrons cannot check out physical materials on these accounts. However, students may have both a ConnectED virtual card and a standard, free St. Louis County Library card for personal use provided they live within the St. Louis County Library district or its reciprocal area. To obtain a personal card, visit any SLCL library branch with the necessary documents or register online. For more information, call 314-994-3300.