Students enjoy the wide selection of virtual books offered through the SCHS library system


Melina Kritikopoulos

The SORA app contains the newly-expanded book selection.

In February, the SCHS library initiated an increase in e-book selection by combining its database with the Santa Clara City Library. According to librarian Seana Shelby, all students now have access to the Northern California Digital Library e-book collection.

The district proposed this implementation and worked in tandem with staff at the public library in order to give high schoolers an asset to facilitate their learning. Overdrive is the free service used to borrow content digitally.

“Our librarians for the district were working with the librarians over at the city library because we all have Overdrive, trying to figure out if we could basically help our students have access to more books,” Shelby said.

The extra database can be accessed through the use of an SCUSD student account.

“Because we merged our accounts sort of, it allows any student, Santa Clara High School student, to download the SORA app by virtue of your email address,” Shelby said. “It shows you are an SCHS student and can switch to Santa Clara City Library (Northern California Digital Library) and switch to use all of their resources.”

Freshman Jocelyn John is one of many students who heard about the expansion of the e-book collection during Teen Read Week. According to John, she has been eager to take advantage of the opportunity to read a wider range of books. She believes the larger variety of books in different genres available will make it easier for her to locate a book that piques her interest.

“For me personally, I think it will give me more interests,” John said. “I’m already interested in reading, but if I find more books that I like, then I’ll read more often.”

Senior Iris Chen values the academic benefits e-books have over paperback books and has personally used them for research.

“I think they’re also helpful for schoolwork, like research and normal classes, because you don’t have to carry around heavy textbooks, and you can annotate ebooks without having to worry about damaging school property,” Chen said.

Aside from its versatility and convenience, students do not have to worry about missing a due date when checking out an e-book. Such is the case with freshman Raina Liem.

“I think a lot of times students don’t check out books from the library because they’re afraid that they’re going to forget about it and that it’s going to be overdue, so having electronic books is a little easier for them to read,” Liem said.

Due to the spread of COVID-19, the school campus was announced as closed for the duration of the year. Given this time of decreased opportunities to access books and other physical materials, sophomore Clarence Caldo appreciates that he can check out books through Overdrive.

“It gives students the ability to read books when all the libraries are closed,” Caldo said. “Especially during this shelter in place, I can read new books and some old ones I come across, hopefully.”

In February, more than 300 e-books were checked out from the SCHS library alone, a large increase from when SORA was new four years ago. According to Caldo, the advancement of technology has made life more efficient and books easier to read online. Students may continue to expand their knowledge during this period of self-isolation since there are more selections and resources to choose from.

“For those who take advantage of the resource broadening, the range will definitely encourage enthusiasts and others alike to read more,” Chen said.