About the Project
The MDK12 Digital Library Project, a partnership of Maryland public school districts and participating nonpublic schools, is a statewide digital content purchasing consortium sponsored by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) that is designed to ensure cost-effective access to appropriate electronic resources for all students.
The MDK12 Digital Library Project Steering Committee consists of at least one representative from each local school system, one representative from MSDE, and one representative from a private nonprofit school selected to represent the private nonprofit schools in the state. Twenty-four Maryland public school systems and more than 100 nonpublic schools have committed staff, time, and funds to provide equitable access to quality digital content for students and teachers in the participating schools. As project partners and steering committee members, these representatives participated in meetings that resulted in an agreement on evaluation and selection criteria for online information databases, equitable pricing of selected products, professional development projects, and project evaluation plans.
Year 1 was a planning year to develop and implement the process for 23 local public school systems to use in identifying, evaluating, and selecting online information databases and strategies for providing equitable access to quality electronic resources to support teaching and learning. In addition, the public school system participants worked together to determine how to collaborate effectively with nonpublic schools. In Year 2, all 24 local school systems and more than 100 nonpublic schools participated in the project and used grant funds to purchase an online encyclopedia (World Book Online) and nine Social Issues Resources Services (SIRS) databases. In Years 3 and 4, project participants continued to receive SIRS databases through grant funding. In Year 5, each participating local school system and nonpublic school contributed half the cost of these databases. In addition, ProQuest, the parent company for SIRS, provided the Decades database at no additional expense.
Throughout the project, steering committee members approached other organizations (e.g., Maryland Digital Library and Maryland Educational Enterprise Consortium) as potential partners in their collaborative efforts. During Year 5, the Maryland State Library provided Thomson Gale's Science Resource Center to all MDK12 Digital Library Project participants and public library patrons in Maryland. This purchase increased the number of online information databases available to students and teachers to 11 and initiated a serious discussion about forming the Maryland Library Consortium (MLC) with representatives from the public and academic library communities.