It’s that time of year. Kids are back in school and will soon be coming into the library for homework and research, not just for pleasure reading. I admit…I have always enjoyed helping children find the answers they need to a homework question. I find it strangely satisfying. And this year, as the pandemic continues, students are going to need our support more than ever. How can we help?
I want to hear your ideas in the comments and would love to share a few of mine. First, reaching out to teachers in your local district to get forewarning of an assignment is so helpful. Teachers, however, have been very overwhelmed with pandemic teaching and the public library is probably not foremost in their mind. Checking in with schools could help.
Whenever a child has an assignment, I ask if it is a local school and, if they have written instructions for it, I ask if I can photocopy it. The department then tries to curate a collection to assist in the assignment.
When doing so, don’t forget to curate your digital resources as well. My system purchases several databases that I have found extremely useful with homework help—and of course, they are always available! In addition to World Book, which has online encyclopedias appropriate for different age levels, my favorites include:
- Infobase’s African-American History and American Indian History offer historical and biographical information, including many primary sources.
- The Gale in Context line of databases may be my favorite. We currently only have a subscription to Biography in Context, and it’s my go-to for any biography report.
- ProQuest’s CultureGrams has information on countries, U.S. states, and Canadian provinces, including recipes.
- The Princeton Review’s Tutor.com offers one-on-one digital tutoring in various subjects.
Ten of our system’s branches also offer Homework Center services, a dedicated space with a limited number of tutors for small group homework help support.
What are you doing to get ready to help your young student patrons? What resources are your favorites?
This post addresses the core competencies of I. Commitment to Client Group, II. Reference and User Services and IV. Knowledge, Curation, & Management of Materials.