Unbound at Mason County District Library

A collaborative program bringing public library books to K-12 students and creating a culture of literacy throughout the community.

Beginning in the second half of the 2018 -19 school year, Mason County Central students began seeing green tote bags arriving in their classrooms. They were part of a pilot program, developed as a partnership between the school district and the public library, with the goal of creating a library account for each student in the district and bringing public library materials right to the classroom.

Unbound delivery

Our Mason County District Libraries delivered 4,697 books to MCC schools and saving the school system $56,178 in 2019!

Students can log on to the Mason County District Library’s online catalog and make requests for books to read at school, to augment their homework, or to take home and read for enjoyment. Then, the librarians at Mason County District Library find the books and sort them by classroom, for program coordinator Patti Skinner to deliver to each school. Her arrival each day, carrying the distinctive lime green tote bags, prompts smiles and even cheers, since students know the items they requested are ready for them to enjoy.

By the end of the school year, students had checked out over 2,100 library books, meeting and exceeding our expectations. Even after the year ended, students continued to take advantage of their library card, and checked out another 414 books over the summer. Clearly, there is a great need for this kind of collaboration.

Just as clearly, these kids love to read!

Unbound has made a significant impact here at Mason County Central by fostering a growing culture of literacy here at MCC High School. Voracious readers now have access to thousands more titles than we have here in the building. Reluctant readers are discovering engaging titles and growing more excited about reading. Students are also learning how to independently manage their reading lives by logging into the MCDL catalog and reserving titles. I have also students who are becoming more flexible readers by making alternate reading choices until their book arrives. Unbound has also created a sense of excitement in our library and in my classroom with students asking if their books are here or telling others about their books arriving. As an English teacher, Unbound makes me feel less pressure to personally purchase all independent reading books students may be interested in. I am quick to offer Unbound as an option for students, rather than try and convince them to read something in my 1,000+ library that may not be the perfect book for them. With the combined collections of Unbound, my classroom library, and our school’s library, it is virtually impossible for a student to fail to find a book that will engage them. Thank you for your partnership with MCC!

Becky Gerhart — English teacher at Mason County Central High School

Circulation continues to meet and exceed expectations in the 2019 – 2020 school year, proving that the program has sustainability. The success of the 2019 pilot program at Mason County Central School District has led to the expansion of the program to the Gateway 2 Success Academy and the Mason County Eastern School District in 2020, with funding from The Rotary Club of Ludington.

“Unbound is proof that there is still magic in a book, and that reading still has the power to change lives. Collaboration between educators and librarians is a natural fit.”

Eric Smith, Mason County District Library Director