If a formal homework center is not feasible in your library because of staff, budget, or space constraints, or because you and your administration are not convinced it best meets the homework help needs in your community, there are many other options to provide assistance to students with their assignments. Maintain a homework resource collection. Include reference books, copies of homework assignments that students bring with them, and a few basic school supplies such as a rulers, calculators, pens, and paper. If you locate the homework resource collection in a central spot, it gives students a designated place to congregate to do their homework. Maintain binders of homework assignments from nearby schools.
If you can establish a good working relationship with teachers and administrators at your local schools, you may be able to arrange to receive assignments in advance, which would be ideal. If this is not possible, staff members can still ask to copy an assignment for a binder when a student asks for assistance. Sources of information and assistance for the assignment can be noted on the back so the youth librarian or other staff members do not have to reinvent the wheel when another student arrives with the same assignment or when the teacher assigns the same project or problems the following year.
Keep as many of the textbooks used in your local schools as you can afford. Many libraries, such as the Public Library of Union County in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, maintain copies of textbooks in their reference sections. Reference librarian Linda reports, “Students who have forgotten a book can come to the library to use it.
Some students regularly copy the pages for their assignments so they don’t have to carry their books. Home school parents use them as well”. Reserve computers—the more the merrier—for student use during specific hours after school. Be prepared to provide information literacy instruction on how to use the computers most effectively for information and data base searches.
Provide separate study areas for students to use after school. Provide traditional face-to-face reference services informed by pedagogical research and proven method. Budgetary and space constraints aside, the choice between creating a homework center and focusing your homework help menu on informal assistance is philosophical. A homework center trumpets the new role of the library as a formal component of the education process. An informal menu of homework help services tends to reflect the more traditional view of the library as place students can go voluntarily for supplementary assistance and support. Either perspective requires sound and thorough planning to ensure success. Another philosophical question librarians must consider is how much of the homework assistance your library provides will take place in the building itself through strategies listed above and face-to-face reference encounters, and how much will take place from remote locations.
This article has been compiled by Classof1; they offer homework assistance
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