Library to provide free e-books, audiobooks to U-High students during school closure


Laboratory Schools

The Pritzker Traubert Family Library will be providing free e-books for students.

Colin Leslie, Reporter

The Pritzker Traubert Family Library is in the process of bringing a free e-book and audiobook service through an app called SORA to U-High students so they can have an easy way to access books during the stay-at-home order and future school closures.

According to U-High librarian Susan Augustine, the University of Chicago is still working to finalize the contract with a company called Overdrive to open the full service to U-High students.

“While we have a trial version of it right now available on our website and it has a handful of books that are available for free, we haven’t yet started ordering the books that we want students to get access to,” Ms. Augustine said.

Ms. Augustine said the library intends for the service to stay in use even if Lab returns to the building in the fall, and students will be able to request books through the website.

“When fall rolls around, [students] will have access to books, both for their classes and curriculum, but also for reading pleasure,” Ms. Augustine said.

According to Ms. Augustine, the stay-at-home order presents a situation in which e-books are especially useful.

“The public library is closed, our physical library is closed and [print] books are expensive, and they actually are taking a long time to get to people when they order them online,” she said.

Ms. Augustine said the stories books tell are especially important during the pandemic, so she and librarian Shirley Volk wanted to make sure students could still read.

“I think that stories speak to our humanity and I think that they give us an escape, but also continue to help us be connected to others through the empathy that happens in reading,” Ms. Augustine said.