Pace Academy is a private school in Atlanta, Georgia, that enrolls 1,115 students in Pre-First through 12th grade. Pace focuses on developing each child’s passions and strengths through academics, athletics and the arts. However, school leaders recognize that education today is much more than the three As. Therefore, they also introduce students to global perspectives in the classroom and ensure an integrated experience before and after the bell rings.
The Woodruff Library supports Pace Academy’s mission to create prepared, confident citizens of the world by providing resources and spaces that encourage and enable learning, critical thinking and a sheer love of reading. One of the tools the library uses to achieve these goals is OpenAthens, a single sign-on authentication solution available from EBSCO.
According to Director of Libraries Matt Ball, the library subscribes to nearly 30 research databases, including Academic Search Ultimate, Advanced Placement Source and Science Reference Center from EBSCO as well as EBSCO eBooks, Flipster Digital Magazines and EBSCO Discovery Service. Previously, the library maintained a list of separate login credentials for every database. This information was kept in a Microsoft Word document in a password-protected folder on the school’s network drive.
“To use a database, a patron first had to remember where that document lived,” Ball explained. “We needed a solution where patrons didn’t need to worry about logging in at all.”
In 2016, the library purchased OpenAthens, a SAML-based single sign-on authentication management system that eliminates the need for multiple logins. Students and faculty need only log in one time — from anywhere — to access all learning resources, tools and assessment platforms. OpenAthens connects to their user directory within Google Workspace for Education to eliminate the need for each user to have a separate library account.
“Users are now able to log into our online resources by simply using their school Google logins,” Ball said. “They can access all our online resources from off-campus without first contacting me to ask where the logins document is.”
Ball has a set-it-and-forget-it approach with OpenAthens. When he has a new database to “hook up,” he contacts EBSCO support to do it for him.
“I receive great customer service,” he said.
Since implementing OpenAthens, Pace Academy’s library staff members are fielding fewer login inquiries from users. This has freed up their time to focus on more meaningful activities, such as information literacy instruction and collection development.