FRANKFORT -- To help students whose schools are closed to in-person classes because of the coronavirus, the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education announced Tuesday that K-12 students and teachers in Kentucky now have free access to an online portal of educational resources to support learning from home.
Those materials are available through the Kentucky Virtual Library, a consortium of nearly 300 institutions from across the state. The content includes academic journals, encyclopedias, magazines, e-books, research and materials for building skills and preparing for tests.
While most K-12 and college students were already eligible to use the Virtual Library, or KYVL, this move expands access to an additional 147,000 public school students and seven public libraries in Kentucky that have not previously benefited. In addition, private schools can contact KYVL to request login information for their students without charge, which they can use until the end of the academic year.
"The council is tapping every available resource to assist students, parents and educators during this time," said CPE President Aaron Thompson. "It's absolutely critical that we harness the power of digital content through remote learning opportunities. I'm confident we will overcome these challenges, but it will require swift action and innovative thinking at every level."
On the KYVL website, students can search for articles, research specific topics or browse well-known titles, such as Scholastic GO! and Encyclopedia Britannica. Materials are available for students at all levels, from elementary grades through college and beyond. This includes adult learners, those entering the job market and those studying in health care.
The site also offers an online chat feature, allowing users to request help with navigating the library and finding resources.
Students, parents and educators have two options to access the Virtual Library:
• Those with a verifiable email address from a Kentucky school, college or university, library or government agency, should visit KYVL.org to obtain a password. The homepage includes a section called "Quick Links." In that section, users should click on the link called "Password Request." A prompt will appear asking for the user's email address. Users should enter their information, click "Request Password," and wait for an automatic reply in their inbox. That reply will include a username and password if the user's email address is verifiable.
• Those who do not have an eligible email address, may contact their local public library or private school librarian for assistance in obtaining a username and password.
Ilona Burdette, the program's executive director, said the expanded access has caused positive feedback from librarians and educators, all of whom can help spread the word.
"The Kentucky Virtual Library is a rich resource for Kentuckians," she said. "Our mission is to provide all Kentuckians a common foundation of high-quality resources, and support in their use, to enhance lifelong learning, working and living."
The CPE launched the Virtual Library in 1999 as a consortium of Kentucky libraries and institutions, including colleges and universities, public libraries, K-12 schools, hospitals, U.S. Department of Defense libraries, the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives and more.