Six million is now the total worth of resources that 5,300 Muncie Community School (MCS) students can access at the school library.

This is a direct result of a partnership between Muncie Public Library (MPL) and MCS that allowed the formation of a joint catalogue. 

The catalogue is an online system which allows Muncie Community School students, faculty and staff to have access to the library’s materials of books, electronic books, audio books, computer games, CDs and DVDs.

The program, which was started in 2016 by the former library director Ginny Nilles, has expanded to include resources from the nonprofit organization Motivate Our Minds (MOM) as of Thursday.

MOM is the first nonprofit to join the program. Akilah Nosakhere, current library director, said there are many other nonprofits “curious” about joining.

“It’s neat to know that what you are doing is impacting every single student in the entire system in a positive way,” said Katherine Mitchell, MPL content management coordinator. “We have always had these resources. We haven’t had a way to share them before.”

The joint catalogue has doubled the monetary value of MPL’s available resources, bringing the total from $3 million to $6 million, Mitchell said. Additionally, MPL’s number of available resources went from 185,979 to 377,475 items — over 190,000 more resources, according to the Muncie Public Library/Muncie Community Schools/Motivate Our Minds Collaborative Partnership Data.

“I had the pleasure of working with this project. It was one of the most rewarding projects I have done in a long time,” Nosakhere said. “Together we can stretch and better utilize our resources for the better of the community as a whole.”

MCS students can pick up books at the schools, libraries or MOM. Nosakhere said students can have the books delivered to the location closest to them. 

“For the kids, it makes it easier for them to find resources,” said MCS superintendent Dr. Steven Baule. “They all end up with a public library card and that’s a big deal … It is really encouraging, the partnership between us and the public library.”

Baule began working on this initiative with Nilles and MPL in 2016.

“Muncie school systems had not kept their card catalogue system up to date really since the late 80s,” Baule said. “The decision was simple for us to work together to make one system.”

Nilles wrote an initial grant of $20,000 to the Muncie Delaware County Community in order to work with MCS librarians to find a way to combine both the school and the library’s materials and to provide a card to each of the students.

“Muncie schools, as you know, is in a little financial trouble and academically things were slipping,” Nosakhere said. “This was Nilles’ way of using the resources of the Muncie Public Library to increase access to learning materials for the students in the area.”

Because of this initiative, the library has been invited to attend a national conference in May at the Center for Community Engagement at the University of Omaha, Nosakhere said.

MPL is one of four schools in the nation that has been invited to present about this catalogue system. "The system was made possible through Mitchell and her team," Nosakhere said.

“A lot of these schools did not have material available electronically. So each book had to be scanned in,” Nosakhere said. “In one year, Katherine Mitchell and her team put all of these books online — in one year.”

The cards used in the catalogue were designed using student input. In the future, Mitchell hopes to keep students involved by using high school students’ input to find a more permanent name for the catalogue. 

Contact Liz Rieth with comments at ejrieth@bsu.edu or on Twitter at @liz_rieth.