Homework help, like every other program in the library, requires resources: people to run it, money to operate it, and supplies for patrons to use. While the needs assessment is being completed, it is also important to survey the resources already available for the implementation of the new program. Until you are certain of the specific needs in your community and the types of programs your library is willing to implement to meet those needs, it is not especially useful to begin the budgeting process. Librarians do, however, need to know up front what current options exist to equip a new program. Has the library governing board or director already earmarked funds for a homework program? Even if this is not the case, has any funding been earmarked for specific technology that would be useful in a homework help program, such as additional computers in the building or new reference software? If so, youth librarians can make an effective argument to allocate the funding fully or partially to the homework help program. Also, it is important to begin the process of identifying potential outside sources of funding, since this may affect which options you can offer your patrons once you determine their needs.
Does your library building have any underutilized space that can be rearranged to become a homework help area? Will you have to integrate homework help onto the library floor, and if so can you obtain consent to rearrange stacks and furniture to set aside a corner for your program? Walter and Meyers suggest looking to areas in your building where usage patterns have changed to find space. For example, if your library used to have a large area to house periodicals, that large area may not experience heavy usage because so many periodicals arc now posted online. One way to determine whether your library has “extra” furniture for use in a homework help zone is to do walk-throughs yourself. Are patrons spread out one or two people per table large enough for six or eight, or is the reading tables jammed most of the time? Does your building have a storage closet filled with unused furniture, and if so is that furniture likely to be useful in a homework area or is it drab and dreary? Even if your library has ample supplies, you cannot necessarily infer that plenty will be available for a homework help program’s use, but it does indicate that administrators recognize the need to keep office supplies available. Who will likely be assigned to plan and implement a homework help program? Will the work be split among several librarians and staff members who have sufficient available time to participate in the project without impinging on current duties, or will you need to hire more people? Does your library have an organized group of volunteers to whom you can go for help with various aspects of the program, such as supervising a study area set up in a conference room? The resources you finally end up employing in your range of homework help services may not resemble the list you compile when you survey what you have to start with, but you won’t know what you need to ask for until you know what you already have at your disposal.
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