Bexley News

Homework Help Center

Students finding help, appropriate place for work

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As far as problems go, it's a good one to have.

The Bexley Public Library's Homework Help Center is growing like an ever-expanding story plot. What started out as a center equipped to help about five students an afternoon has grown to attract some 15 to 25 students per session.

The only problem is, the library is running out of space.

On any given afternoon Monday through Thursday, Rachel Rubin, director of the Bexley Public Library, says students can be seen occupied at one of the Homework Help Center's four computers, sprawled out on the library floor working, or wandering in among the stacks of books and materials meant to aid in afterschool studies.

With the library's top priority in mind -- to meet the needs of local students -- space seems to be the biggest concern.

"This is clearly a need we have," she said just a few weeks into the school year.

But she's not yet ready to make any definite plans to expand.

"First, we need to pass the levy," she said, referring to an issue that will be on November's ballot.

Then, a community survey is in order to find out what people want, followed by a little consulting with school officials to get their input.

In June, Bexley City School Board of Education members unanimously agreed to place a 2.8-mill operating levy on the Nov. 5 ballot to fund the Bexley Public Library. The measure was placed before school board members because the school board acts as the library system's taxing authority.

According to Rubin, a five-year 1.5 mill levy, approved by voters in 2009, would be replaced by the 2.8-mill operating levy should community members pass it in November.

The owner of a home appraised at $100,000 in Bexley currently pays approximately $3.72 a month, or $44.69 annually. The 2.80-mill operating levy would increase monthly property taxes by approximately $4.45 per month, or $53.31 annually. The same homeowner would pay approximately $8.17 per month, or $98 annually.

The funding would be used to not only maintain current services, Rubin told board members this summer, but to expand those new services to which patrons have responded overwhelmingly -- including the Homework Help Center, services to seniors and web access.

The Homework Help Center's benefits are multi-faceted, said Mandy Simon, the young adult librarian.

"Sometimes it's difficult for a student to go from a school environment to a home environment and still be motivated to work," she said.

The Homework Help Center provides a quiet place to do work, along with the resources needed to complete it properly. Crayons, paper, pencils, calculators, text books, computers, printers and research materials are all available to any student participant.

"And the kids who come to the Homework Help Center develop special relationships with the faces they see there each day," she said.

The center also provides a safe place for students to work in the afternoons, and gives teens and college students an outlet where they can help others while fulfilling service hour requirements.

And then there's the natural tendency to wander through the library's collections, something that can pull in reluctant readers who might not otherwise open a book.

"It's definitely giving them something productive to do in a relatively safe environment after school," said Simon.

The Bexley Public Library's Homework Help Center is open from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and is staffed with student and adult volunteers.

Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to download and fill out an application at the library's website, bexleylib.org/HomeworkHelp.

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