The Dublin Foundation has donated $5,000 toward the $45,000 that the Dublin branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library needs to establish a homework help center for students of all ages.

The Dublin Foundation has donated $5,000 toward the $45,000 that the Dublin branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library needs to establish a homework help center for students of all ages.

The first Columbus library homework help center was established at the Linden branch in 2004, said library development director Donna Zuiderweg.

The centers are staffed by "community volunteers to help students work through homework assignments," she said. "It's not tutoring because that's more long-term. It's 'I need help on a math assignment this afternoon, can you help me work through the answers?'"

According to Zuiderweg, Dublin will be the last branch to open a homework help center that offers free assistance to students.

"We will have 20 operational by the (beginning of the) school year," she said. "Dublin is the last one."

The homework help centers weren't originally planned for the Columbus library system's suburban libraries.

"We felt that urban locations would probably have a greater need and didn't anticipate great usage in suburban libraries," Zuiderweg said. "The centers have been as strongly used in suburban libraries as urban locations. It's just kind of a timeline now on how we dole them out. It depends on fundraising and support we receive."

With recent funding cuts, the library has had to rely on grants like the one it received from the Dublin Foundation, individual donations and corporate support to open the help centers.

"We've been able to do that with the last nine or 10 of them," Zuiderweg said.

The $45,000 in startup costs covers the renovation of library space for the help center and additional computers.

"Then the library will hire a homework help center coordinator and absorb the costs once it's up and running," Zuiderweg said.

The library hopes to raise the additional funds for the Dublin homework help center by the end of August.

"If we're successful, we can launch the actual project and do a soft start for students after the winter break in January 2011," she said. "If we raise (the money) sooner we can open it sooner, but that's the anticipated timeline."

The library anticipates 15 to 20 students will receive homework assistance each day during three hours after school. Zuiderweg said middle school students typically utilize services the most.