Muncie Public Library and Burris Laboratory School Partner for READ Program

Burris students show off their new READ cards. Photo by Laura-Lea Hughes, Burris Laboratory School.Burris students show off their new READ cards. Photo by Laura-Lea Hughes, Burris Laboratory School.

By Susan Fisher, Muncie Public Library, Photos by Laura-Lea Hughes, Burris Laboratory School—

Muncie, IN—Muncie Public Library (MPL) and Burris Laboratory School are excited to announce the recent roll out of a READ card program that will put a special library card in the hands of all students, faculty, and staff at Burris. The partnership will increase access to MPL books, audio-visual items, database resources, and eResources.

“As soon as the partnership was approved, I shared details about it with our students and they have been very excited to get and use the new READ card,” said Laura-Lea Hughes, Media Specialist & Librarian at Burris. To that end, Hughes introduced the program this week with a celebration in the Burris library, complete with decorations and prizes.

Students received their new cards, which come with the added bonus of no late fees for overdue items. (Lost or damaged items will still result in fees.) The cards remain active until the next academic year and can also be used during summer and winter breaks. Students also got free “U.S. Acres” comic books, which were donated to MPL by Jim and Jill Davis. Hughes reported that the celebration to distribute the cards was a huge success. “The kids were so excited to receive their own cards, and I had the time of my life handing them out! We had a first grader who said it was her first library card ever and she got so excited that she cried, and then I cried,” said Hughes.


Hughes became interested in creating the partnership with MPL when she read about the UCAT (Union Catalog)  library partnership MPL has had with Muncie Community Schools (MCS) and Motivate Our Minds (MOM). Hughes said that her first thought was, “We could do that too!”

The UCAT program with MCS and MOM is renewed annually and the partnering organizations issue READ cards to students and staff and create a shared catalog of resources. “While we aren’t creating a shared catalog with Burris, we definitely wanted to work on a partnership to get the READ cards to their students and staff,” said Katherine Mitchell, Circulation Manager at MPL.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the recent winter weather created some delays in the project, but according to Hughes the implementation couldn’t have come at a better time. “We currently have students learning on site,” said Hughes, “but we also have many who are learning remotely due to the pandemic. This card will be especially beneficial to our remote students to get more materials in their hands.” Mitchell echoed that sentiment and added that even though MPL is currently closed to in-person visits, the students and staff will be able to go online to the MPL website to request materials for curbside delivery and they will be able to access online resources immediately.

Burris students, their parents, and staff received a welcome letter with the details of the READ card program and can contact Hughes with any questions. For general library information, individuals can visit the Muncie Public Library website at