Photo via Baltimore County Public Library

In a push to keep young minds curious and information unrestricted, Baltimore County schools and libraries have partnered up to give every public school student automatic library card privileges.

Effective today, BCPS students will be automatically permitted to check out up to five print, audio, e- or e-audio books at once, in addition to being able to access the county library system’s databases, language learning tools, online tutoring services and test prep options, among other resources.

And what’s more, they won’t have to worry about owing any money if they lose or forget an item. Students who don’t return books after 30 days could be blocked, though they’ll still be permitted access to all online resources.

A release from the library system said the initiative “realizes a shared goal of providing all students unfettered access to public library resources.”

“Libraries should always serve as equalizers in opportunities for knowledge and success, so making our libraries as accessible as possible for people of all ages is a high priority,” said Baltimore County Public Library Director Paula Miller in a statement.

Jurisdictions all around the country have been offering such programs in recent years, answering a call from President Obama’s ConnectED Library Challenge to give every student a library card. As of last year, 60 communities had signed on, including Baltimore City and four nearby counties.

Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden, formerly head of the Enoch Pratt Free Library system in the city, made registering teens for library cards a key priority during her tenure in Baltimore.

As of 10 months ago, all Baltimore County library patrons also have access to e-readers and Google Chromebooks (as long as they’re available), which means children of all ages will be even better connected now with library cards at their disposal.

Students will be automatically enrolled for library accounts using their student ID numbers. Those who forget to bring their BCPS One Card will still be able to check items out or use resources with assistance from library staff.

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Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...