Monday, July 4, 2022

Williamsburg Regional Library, WJCC schools launch app for young readers

Williamsburg Regional Library and Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools launched a new app for students. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Unsplash)

In the latest collaborative effort, Williamsburg Regional Library (WRL) and Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools are increasing access to e-books and digital audiobooks for local students.

Through an app called Sora, students can browse and borrow from among thousands of age-appropriate titles from wherever they happen to be — 24/7.

The app combines WRL’s children’s and young adult e-book collections with WJCC Schools’ digital e-book and audiobook collections, giving students over 10,000 options.

“Thanks to Williamsburg Regional Library, WJCC students now have access to many more age-appropriate e-books,” Pattie Bowen, WJCC Schools’ supervisor of instructional technology, said in a statement from a news release. “SORA is easy to use and connects our students directly to WRL.”

“As one of our librarians wrote, ‘these resources will be a gold mine for our students,’” Bowen added.

RELATED STORY: Williamsburg Regional Library closes buildings due to rising COVID-19 cases

Teachers get something out of the app, too.

Sora offers education-specific tools like achievements, exportable notes, and reading progress that encourage individualized learning, according to a news release from WRL.

“Regular use of e-books and digital audiobooks has all the same advantages that reading physical books do: improved vocabulary, comprehension, pronunciation, and critical thinking and listening skills,” the news release said.

WRL and WJCC Public Schools have had a formal partnership spanning over 18 years that has included many successful past and ongoing initiatives.

“We started talking about this project with the schools and Overdrive, the creator of the SORA app, back in mid-December,” WRL’s spokesperson Barry Trott, wrote in an email. “Part of our partnership with the WJCC Public Schools involves regular communication about opportunities like this that help meet the needs of students and families by taking advantage of the strengths of both partner organizations.”

WJCC Schools students can download Sora through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, and on Chromebooks that support the Google Play Store.

It is also available for use in web browsers on any computer here.

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