Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' ONE Access initiative reaches 100,000 milestone just in time for the holidays

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Thanks to a push from CMS, more than 100,000 students used their new ONE Access library accounts in less than four months

Charlotte, NC – Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015 – More than 100,000 students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools received a valuable gift just in time for the holidays – access to the world of resources and possibilities available through the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

In August of this year, the Library and CMS announced ONE Access – an initiative to give all CMS students increased access to the County’s public libraries. Students in 168 schools learned they could use their school identification numbers to check out books, use online tools, and access other services at Library branches and at home via

Since that time, more than 100,000 of the 146,140 students enrolled in CMS have used their accounts at least once – in the classroom, in libraries or from home. 52% of the activity has been checkout of physical books and materials, followed by 29% accessing digital materials on OverDrive and 16% using Library computers. Many students are also accessing online databases for research.

“Creating the access was the first step, but we always knew the bigger measure of success would be students actually using the resources of the Library to improve their education,” says Library CEO Lee Keesler. “Thanks to the strong push from CMS, we are now seeing that vision become reality, and are working even harder to keep those students engaged with the Library.”

“We issued a challenge to our teachers and media specialists to get 100,000 students to use their ONE Access accounts before winter break,” says CMS Superintendent Ann Clark. “Thanks to the hard work and commitment of our staff, we reached that goal, and hopefully encouraged our students to keep accessing library resources while they are on break.”  

CMS teachers and media specialists found creative ways to use the resources. One teacher assistant at Newell Elementary School reported that her first grade class “went on safari” during their media time, using Library resources TumbleBooks (an online collection of animated talking picture books) and PowerKnowledge (an online science resource for learners in grades 3-6).

“They took turns choosing an animal to investigate. They loved the sounds and watching the videos! A volunteer said, ‘you would think they are at a real zoo from all the screams and excitement.’ Thank you for this awesome opportunity!”

“Response to the program has been overwhelmingly positive,” says David Singleton, Director of Libraries. “Many families who come into the Library to get a library card are surprised and excited to learn that they already have one.”

At Scaleybark Library, a student who learned he could access the information he needed to complete a school project, despite having fines on his regular library card, responded, "This is so cool! Can anyone do this? Wait till I tell my friends!"

At Matthews Library, the coach of a South Charlotte Middle School Science Olympiad team was thrilled to know that his students could use their ONE Access accounts to do research and access library databases. He said this would make it much easier for his students.

ONE Access, or “One Number Equals Access,” uses students' school identification numbers instead of separate library cards. With their ONE Access account, students can:

  • Access Library research databases
  • Borrow digital materials such as e-books, e-audiobooks, magazines, music and video
  • Borrow up to 10 print or audio books (no DVDs or music CDs)

There are no overdue fines for ONE Access accounts, but users are responsible for fees on lost books.

This effort is part of an ongoing commitment by both organizations to benefit the community by increasing literacy and educational success.


Quick facts

More than 100,000 of the 146,140 students enrolled in CMS have used their ONE Access accounts
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Students in CMS schools can use use their school identification numbers to check out books, use online tools, and access other Library services
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Joint initiative between the Library and CMS was launched in September 2015
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