CHICAGO — For Immediate Release, Mon, 11/27/2017
American Library Association
CHICAGO — Despite the proliferation of online homework websites and tutoring services, public libraries still have an important role to play when it comes to supporting young people’s educational needs. Public libraries that take a proactive approach—by setting up organized homework centers—have the potential to become catalysts for better performance in school, improved self-esteem, and engaged learning. Whether readers are investigating the possibility of setting up a center from scratch or are eager to revamp an existing center, Cindy Mediavilla’s “Creating & Managing the Full-Service Homework Center,” published by ALA Editions, shows the way forward with:
- discussion of the philosophy behind a public library homework center and its many benefits, with useful talking points for getting stakeholders on board;
- examples of model programs from across the country;
- guidance on assessing the community’s educational priorities and utilizing outcome-based planning and evaluation methods;
- pragmatic advice on how to collaborate with schools and educators to coordinate goals;
- thorough consideration of such key issues as carving out a space, setting hours, scheduling staff, and selecting and procuring educational resources;
- handy tools for a successful homework center, including sample surveys, homework helper application forms and contracts, staff and volunteer job descriptions, and focus group questions;
- advice on equipment and technology considerations; and
- methodologies for evaluation and improvement.
Mediavilla authored “Creating the Full–Service Homework Center in Your Library,” (ALA, 2001), which has been called “the quintessential guide to the practicalities of setting up a formal homework help center to provide one–to–one homework assistance to student patrons” (Intner, “Homework Help from the Library,” ix). In the early 1990s she managed a homework center, called the Friendly Stop, for the Orange (CA) Public Library, and she has been studying after–school homework programs ever since. She has published several articles on the topic and has evaluated homework programs for the Long Beach and Los Angeles public libraries. She has made presentations on homework help programs at the conferences of several major library associations, and she has also conducted many workshops on the topic.
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