Somehow I missed it. For some time now, Mackin has offered a free portal for schools’ ebooks and database collections. Just one log-in gives students access to all ebooks and all databases from which their school subscribes. To me, that is just plain AWESOME! On the chance that I’m not the only librarian out there who feels as though they are living under a rock, allow me to share this revolutionary tool with you: Mackin Via.
First, I must give thanks and credit to the wonderful Joyce Valenza who brought Mackin Via to my attention. When I had griped to her about the user-unfriendliness of the EBSCO app, she agreed and commented that this was why she uses Mackin Via…to give her students easy-access to all of the school’s databases.
It’s easiest to explain how Mackin Via works by describing what it does, and what it doesn’t do…
- It’s FREE! (and in the current economical climate…that’s darn important!)
- Just ONE log-in and students have access to ALL of our databases and ALL of our ebooks (not just Mackin ebooks!)
- It’s SUPER easy to set-up.
- Mackin Via’s customer support is readily available, personable and wanting to help you.
- There’s a Mackin Via app which students can use to read material saved in their personal backpack.
- Although I can have our Follett ebooks imported into Mackin Via, my students will still need to log-in to their Destiny account to read the books. But this of course makes sense since the books are purchased through Follett, after all.
- I ran into some glitches when exporting some of my Follett ebooks through Destiny. But this is no fault of Mackin’s.
As I said, set-up couldn’t be easier. Get started here where you’ll get step-by-step assistance in setting up a portal for your school. If you wish, you can also take a test-drive of the Mackin Via app by clicking here. For the school, select MackinVia. The username is mackin and the password is mackindemo.
Once set-up, you will see that you’ll have different tabs for ebooks, Databases, Groups and Categories. You can customize your Groups as you would a Pathfinder and the Categories are automatically populated by subject (ie. Adventure, Science, etc).
Students also have an option of creating a Backpack account which allows them to save their favorite electronic resources and download books to read with their MackinVia app. A complete guide to MackinVia can be found here.
Mackin Via is very new to me and I am still working towards customizing it for our high school, but I’m already excited about what it could mean to my students and my staff. Students want information to come to them easily and quickly (ala Google). Mackin Via does just that for them with the resources which I have carefully evaluated and chosen for them.
PSLA Blogger: Mary Schwander
Co-Chair of PSLA Technology Committee
Library Media Specialist at New Hope-Solebury High School