The Hays USD 489 school board heard about a growing partnership between the district and Hays Public Library at Monday night’s regular meeting.

The public library and the district’s school libraries have been working together for a couple of years now, working with teachers to help make sure students had access to books for the reading assignments they were given.

“Our No. 1 goal at Hays Public Library has been to get more books and more resources into the hands of more people, particularly the kids and students we know need it most,” said Vera Elwood, HPL young adult librarian.

“At the middle school and the high school, we coordinate with specific teachers where they will actually send me their assignment rubrics for their different book reports coming up. I’ll compile a list of books that meet the assignment guidelines, and then I’ll come meet with their students in groups and one-on-one to make sure they’re getting exactly the book that’s actually going to interest them so they can develop that love of reading,” she said.

The public library has created book displays for the school and also conducted drives to get students library cards. At Hays Middle School, 650 students signed up for library cards, Elwood said.

Now the public library is expanding its partnership by allowing part of its budget to be used by the district libraries.

“We are setting aside a part of our budget for ever single school in the district where the librarians for your district will have total control over the items purchased through that,” she said.

The items purchased will be kept in the respective schools’ libraries, until the school librarian determines there is no longer a need or room for them. If that happens, the items will go to HPL.