ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- Hardin County students can now read thousands of free books with a simple click of a button.

The Hardin County Public Library teamed up with Hardin County Schools to give students access to digital books.

“It is on demand,” said Brandy New, the instructional technology coordinator with Hardin County Schools. “That is how they live their lives. That’s the way they get their TV. That’s the way they get their music. It should be the way they get their print media, too.”

Parents must first sign a permission slip to allow students to sign up for a digital library card. Their names are then entered into a database, and then the library sends them an access code.

With their digital library cards, students can check out more than 172,000 electronic books, audiobooks and videos through a network of 103 libraries across Kentucky.

“Traditionally, teens are a really difficult population to get physically into the library,” said Nan Hildeshein, the youth services coordinator for the Hardin County Public Library. “We wanted to figure out a way to get resources into their hands that was accessible to them.”

The library is starting with high school and middle school students with Hardin County Schools. Then, it will be offered to elementary students. Eventually, the library plans to offer the digital access to all schools in the county.

“They’re changing with the times,” Hildeshein said. “We have to change with the times, too.”

Permission slips are being sent home with students this week. Parents can also find the forms at each school or online.

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