Professional Development/Continuing Education (CE)
- RAILS offers webinars at no cost to our school library staff. Visit the upcoming CE events web page and check the "School" box under Library Type on the right side.
- Many programs are recorded and available in our CE Archives. Choose "School" as your library type on right side of screen.
- The new and improved Library Directory & Learning Calendar (L2) provides a calendar of statewide CE. Limit the event audience to "Schools" to find targeted opportunities.
- RAILS partners with the Illinois State Library and AISLE to provide Professional Development Hours (PDHs). The L2 calendar indicates when PDH credits are available.
Affordable Access to E-Resources
- eRead Illinois Axis 360 provides affordable access to over 56,892 e-books and e-audiobooks. Approximately 31% of items in the collection are aimed at K-12 students. A scoping feature allows schools to restrict students' access to mature adult content. Schools can join individually or as a district.
- Inkie.org is a suite of resources - available to everyone in Illinois at no charge - that supports local authors with online creation and publishing tools. Students can design and self-publish their own e-books via Pressbooks. Teachers can also use Pressbooks to create classroom materials.
Delivery & Interlibrary Loan
- RAILS offers different delivery options for school libraries depending on delivery volume and location. Email our help desk at to find out more.
- Find More Illinois is an affordable option for schools, with or without an automated catalog, to give students access to the holdings of different libraries. Anyone can search multiple catalogs at once. Patrons and staff of participating libraries can log in to place and manage interlibrary loan requests. Schools can join individually or as a district.
Help Advocating for Your School Library
Need help promoting the value of your library to administrators, funders, students, and other stakeholders? The My Library Is… Campaign includes:
- Talking Points for School Libraries to use in different situations
- Special resources and toolkits to help you advocate for your library
- Grants to help school libraries plan activities to promote their value
- A Sharing Showcase for libraries to share examples of promotional materials that have helped them tell their stories
The My Library Is… Blog includes posts/stories/best practices from library staff and others. Posts of particular interest to schools include:
- A video interview about the advocacy film Overdue: The Value of School Librarians
- Communicating Library Value to Teachers
- Collaborating with Student Changemakers
- Enhancing Connections with Our Schools
- The Virtual (and Physical Heart of the School
- My First Year as a School Librarian
- And more!
RAILS offers discounts on a variety of products of interest to school libraries, including:
- Comics Plus, with access to thousands of age-appropriate digital comics, graphic novels, and manga
- EBSCO packages for K-12 libraries, including core databases and additional choices from a list of options
- Learning Express, providing support for standardized test prep and more
- TumbleBooks resources, with thousands of curated e-book and e-audiobook titles for ages K-12
Visit the Deals & Discounts page, look for the "Offers for RAILS Libraries" section, and choose "School" to see current offerings.
Networking Opportunities/Sharing Best Practices
In addition to hosting the AISLE mailing list, RAILS has several email lists of interest to staff at school libraries, including:
- School Library List
- Electronic Content List
- Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion List
- Makerspace List
View complete list of RAILS mailing lists.
- RAILS has a Networking Groups Directory with info on meetings and a contact person to find out more. Find groups of interest to school libraries by choosing School under library type on the right side.
- RAILS offers Zoom meeting licenses for RAILS networking groups (including AISLE chapters in the RAILS area).
Other Ways to Locate Colleagues for Networking
L2 (Library Directory & Learning Calendar) includes a searchable directory of Illinois libraries. You can limit your search by library type, county, and more. Check your library's listing while you're there to ensure it's up to date.
Information on Current Issues
RAILS' Library Pulse Pages help members stay current on the latest issues/challenges affecting all sizes and types of libraries. Topics change as issues change, and currently include:
- Data In Libraries
- Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
- E-Resources Access
- Universal Library Service