Free online education resources expanded

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Parents, teachers and students have free access to a bank of online education resources, according to the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE).

The materials are available through the Kentucky Virtual Library, a consortium of nearly 300 institutions from across the state. Content includes academic journals, encyclopedias, magazines, e-books, research, and materials for building skills and preparing for tests.

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“The Council is tapping every available resource to assist students, parents and educators during this time,” said CPE President Aaron Thompson. “It’s absolutely critical that we harness the power of digital content through remote learning opportunities. I’m confident we will overcome these challenges, but it will require swift action and innovative thinking at every level.”

While most K-12 and college students were already eligible to use the Virtual Library, today’s move will expand access to an additional 147,000 public school students and seven public libraries in Kentucky that have not previously benefited. In addition, private schools can contact KYVL to request login information for their students without charge.

These changes will remain in effect until the end of the academic year.

On the Virtual Library’s website, students can search for articles, research specific topics or browse well-known titles, such as Scholastic GO! and Encyclopedia Britannica. Materials are available for students at all levels – from elementary grades through college and beyond, including adult learners, those entering the job market and those studying in health care.

The site also offers an online chat feature, allowing users to request help with navigating the library and finding resources.

Students, parents and educators have two options to access the Virtual Library.

First option: (For users with a verifiable email address from a Kentucky school, college or university, library or government agency.)

–        Users with an email address such as name@stu.fayette.kyschools.us, name@louisville.edu or name@uky.edu should visit KYVL.org to obtain a password. The homepage includes a section called “Quick Links.” In that section, users should click on the link called “Password Request.”

–        A prompt will appear asking for the user’s email address. Users should enter their information, click “Request Password,” and wait for an automatic reply in their inbox. That reply will include a username and password if the user’s email address is verifiable.

–        After receiving a password, users can browse the website, select databases and materials, or use the search box at the top of the homepage. When prompted, users can log in using the username and password.

Second option:

–        If users do not have an eligible email address, they may contact their local public library or private school librarian for assistance in obtaining a username and password.

Ilona Burdette, the program’s executive director, said expanded access is already driving positive feedback from librarians and educators – all of whom can help spread the word.

“The Kentucky Virtual Library is a rich resource for Kentuckians,” she said. “Our mission is to provide all Kentuckians a common foundation of high-quality resources, and support in their use, to enhance lifelong learning, working and living.”

Burdette said the expansion was prompted by a request from Shauna Burkeen, the library media specialist for Marshall County High School.

“I’ve used the Virtual Library in the past and was familiar with the incredible resources it provides,” Burkeen said. “Hopefully, by expanding access through the end of the academic year, more schools and teachers will learn about the system and its value to students and educators.”

The CPE launched the Virtual Library in 1999 as a consortium of Kentucky libraries and institutions, including colleges and universities, public libraries, K-12 schools, hospitals, U.S. Department of Defense libraries, the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives and more.

Before today’s announcement, 112 public libraries, 100 public school districts and a number of private schools already participated along with most all of Kentucky’s institutions of higher learning – both public and private.

“There has always been a wonderful spirit of collaboration among KYVL libraries,” Burdette said, “and we’re thankful for the partnerships that make it possible to serve the information needs of even more Kentuckians at this time.”