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Eugene community raises funds for out-of-boundary homeschool, charter school student library cards

Library bookshelves.
Rebecca Hansen-White
The children's section at the downtown Eugene Public Library. Students on Eugene's outskirts who are homeschooled, or go to charter schools, could soon be eligible for free library cards.

Community members and education groups have raised more than $18,000 to provide free Eugene library cards to children who live on the outskirts of the city.

All Eugene 4J and Bethel students get free library cards automatically, even if they technically live outside the city. Homeschool and charter school students are not included in that program. If they live outside the boundaries, a Eugene Public Library card costs $11 a month.

Eugene 4J Board member Jenny Jonak is one of the organizers behind the library card effort. She said the community has raised enough funds to cover the cost of hundreds of library cards for those students.

“Whether you're homeschooling, or you go to a public neighborhood school, or a public charter school, it would be great to see every single student have access to a library because the resources are so important,” she said.

She said this year’s efforts could be a model for a larger effort to greatly expand library access to young people in the area.

Jonak is hoping the library will be able to issue cards by late spring so students have access to services and audio books over the summer. Charter school students will likely receive cards automatically, but homeschool students may need to opt in and should keep an eye out for announcements about the library card program.

Those looking to help out with the effort should contact Lane Education Foundation.

Rebecca Hansen-White joined the KLCC News Department in November, 2023. Her journalism career has included stops at Spokane Public Radio, The Spokesman-Review, and The Columbia Basin Herald.