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St. Croix Central upgrades library software

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St. Croix Central School District's libraries have officially left the 1990s.

The district purchased a new circulation program, called Destiny, for this school year. Training sessions are planned for staff and students.

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The old program, called OPAC by students, came out in the 1990s, said Amanda Olson, middle and high school librarian.

"It was functional but very basic," she explained. Technical support was still available for the program but the company wasn't sure how much longer it would be offered, she said.

Starting last year, Olson and elementary librarian Barb Bartos studied different software systems. They eventually decided to purchase Destiny, which is used by other nearby districts.

"The product is awesome," Olson said, smiling. "I'm so happy."

Purchasing Destiny came with an "expensive" one-time fee, Olson said. They'll pay a yearly upgrade fee as well. The cost was covered by Common School Money, which is earmarked for library resources.

Destiny allows for online searching, meaning kids can look for books from their classrooms or homes. The website is http://des tiny.scc.k12.wi.us.

Destiny allows kids to search for books at their lexile reading level. Students find their lexile level through the Measures of Academic Progress tests, which were administered for the first time at SCC last year. Teachers assign students to read books at their level.

All three buildings' libraries are connected to the system. That way, a middle-schooler reading at an advanced level can search the high school's catalog to find something in his or her lexile level. The books are sent through the intra-school mail.

Like Amazon.com, Destiny shows book covers and reviews. Students can write their own reviews of the books.

"I think a dedicated group of kids will do it (on their own)," Olson said. Teachers can also assign students to write book reviews.

Teachers can upload resource lists to Destiny, rather than handing out sheets of paper with book titles. Students will be able to see if the book is available from the website.

New students are automatically entered into the Destiny system, Olson said. With the old program, she had to manually enter new students' information or use a floppy disk to transfer it.

School pictures are displayed with the students' information.

It's taken some time to learn the program, Olson admitted.

"But it's well worth it for all the benefits," she said.

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