Northwest News

Columbus library launches homework help centers


About 50 kids filed into the Hilltop Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library for the first day of the homework help centers.

Manager John Tetzloff said he was pleasantly surprised by the turnout.

"I think we're going to be hopping this year," said Tetzloff, also manager of the library's Franklinton Branch.

Library officials launched the homework help centers, also known as HHCs, Aug. 19, a few days before the start of school for most central Ohio districts so kids could get a jump on the new school year.

The centers, open to students in grades K-12, are available Monday through Friday at all of the library's 21 locations.

Times vary at each branch, depending on when schools in the area are dismissed, said Gregg Dodd, marketing director for the library system.

Library officials have phased out Sunday programming and added new hours, from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, at each location.

"Students want to get that homework knocked out before the weekend so they're ready to go on Monday," Dodd said.

The centers are free for students, who also have access to computers, free printing and free school supplies in a designated area of each library.

"This is great collaborative space as well because oftentimes, students are given group projects to work on," Dodd said.

There is little cost to the library system to run the HHCs, save for staff time, Dodd said. Volunteers provide much of the tutoring and most of the supplies are donated, he said.

CML opened the first homework help center in 2004 in the Linden Branch.

Since then, participation has steadily grown. There were 67,000 HHC visits in the 2011-12 school year and 80,000 last year.

Officials are expecting 100,000 visits this year, Dodd said.

"So the need is obviously increasing," he said.

"The word is getting out and these students are benefiting greatly."