Free Homework Help Is Back in Library Branches

Written by Staci Dennison, The Thomas W. Jones Executive Director of The Library Foundation and Chief Development Officer, and Kelly Sheehy, Content Specialist, Downtown Main Library  

Homework doesn’t have to mean hard work thanks to the Library’s no-cost Homework Helpers. Connecting children from kindergarten through eighth grade with the assistance they need to complete assignments and grasp concepts is what the Library’s Homework Help program is all about.  

 With many Hamilton County children returning to in-person learning and coming to the Library, Homework Help is currently available for walk-in services from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays at the Avondale, College Hill, Pleasant Ridge branches, and 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. at the Westwood branch. As vaccines continue to roll out, we hope to come back to full capacity, offering Homework Help at more than 25 branch locations.  

Learning and Growing Together 

For now, students can drop in and get help as they need it individually or in small groups. The best part? They really love it.  

At our Avondale Branchhelpers meet the kids where they are, building a trust relationship through games and doing crafts while helping out on specific needs like algebra or reading.  

At the Westwood Branch, the students who drop in have been increasing in numbers, so the Helper has moved operations into the branch’s meeting room. This allows the students space for work (and to be kids). 

The Pleasant Ridge Branch's building is set up differentlyThere, two helpers make one-on-one appointments with kids or their families in order to meet the Library's stringent safety protocols. Help has mostly been given in math and reading, but because of the pandemichelpers have expanded how they are assisting students. They even are seeing more older students, helping with advanced math, physics, chemistry, and even Latin; while also being able to focus on helping higher-need students with reading.  

One ESOL student who visited the Pleasant Ridge Branch mentioned that he loved dinosaurs, so the helper he works with uses a dinosaur puzzle as motivation. As he reaches his reading goals, they are slowly putting the puzzle together while labeling the dinos. 

Live Tutoring Available Online 

For kids who are still remote-learning or may have circumstances that prevent them from physically coming to a branch for help, the Library provides free access to BrainFuse Help Now, an online program for students and parents alike, that provides live virtual tutoring, writing labs, study guides, test prep, SkillSurfer lessons and quizzes, and even chess tutoring, and help for students or caregivers navigating filing the FAFSA.  

How You Can Support Homework Help 

Our Homework Help program wouldn’t be possible without our generous donor, The Charles H. Dater Foundation, through The Library Foundation. For many of us, libraries were among the first places where we connected to ideas bigger than ourselves. We heard stories, researched subjects, discovered new material, and let our imagination take us to places beyond our surroundings. 

Whether we knew it or not, libraries were lighting the fire and feeding the burning drive to do, see, and be something more. 

The Library Foundation is dedicated to ensuring a great library system by raising, managing, and allocating funds to expand and enhance the Library's programs. Your donations allow the Library Foundation to fund system-wide and branch-specific initiatives as well as programming for minds of all kinds. You can support the Library Foundation by visiting foundation.cincinnatilibrary.org.  

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