MVLA–MV Public Library program faces new challenges


Emily McNally

New restrictions are challenging the relationship between MVLA and the Mountain View Public Library.

New requirements stand in the way this year of the partnership between the Mountain View–Los Altos School District and the Mountain View Public Library (MVPL), making it more difficult for MVLA students to access the library’s digital resources.

Established in 2012, the partnership began with an informal arrangement between Los Altos High School Librarian Gordon Jack, former MVLA Superintendent Barry Groves and the MVPL. Through the partnership, MVLA students are automatically provided digital library cards and can gain access to a vast collection of databases, ebooks and audiobooks that couldn’t be afforded otherwise by the District.

“We hope through the partnership to be able to articulate the library’s value on student learning,” MVPL Youth and Outreach Services Manager Tarri Ryan said. “The library is eager to formalize a partnership with MVLA.”

Out of all the partnership’s assets, EBSCOHost stands out, providing MVLA students with over 40 unique databases across a variety of topics like science, health and history. While MVLA is able to subscribe to a few other databases — such as ProQuest and Global Issues in Context — EBSCOHost is particularly useful to students, as it is often used by student researchers in college.

However, MVLA could be close to losing EBSCOHost and the other partnership resources. Under new MVPL leadership this year, the City of Mountain View has required MVLA to submit a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), a document aligning the roles and responsibilities of the partnership. The continuation of the eight-year partnership will depend on whether the District can comply with these new requirements.

Unfortunately, neither the library nor the city has been able to tell us what it wants in this MOU, and so we are at a loss for how to comply,” Jack said. “The District Office wrote [an MOU] and sent it over to the people at MVPL, but it wasn’t accepted.”

The reasons behind this unacceptance are unclear. According to MVPL, however, the process for the MOU is already clearly established by the City of Mountain View.

“The MVLA District is aware of this,” Ryan said. “The process for the MOU is in place and we look forward to establishing a multi-year MOU to support student needs.”

Nevertheless, MVPL is still offering students free digital library cards if they sign up on their own. Students who go through the registration process will have access to all of the same digital resources offered by the library through its prior partnership with the District.

The problem with this is that it requires students to remember to sign up for these resources, and once they’ve done it they also have to remember their e-card number for the four years they’re at Los Altos,” Jack said. “In my experience, neither of these scenarios work out very well.”

Sign up for a digital library card here.