Free program offers help with homework

Children’s Librarian Katy Hepner explains how to use NoveList to a library patron.
Children’s Librarian Katy Hepner explains how to use NoveList to a library patron.

Sometimes, a student can find themselves staring at a brick wall when tasked with solving a homework problem.

But not all may know of one particular option to find a way around, through or over that wall. The St. Charles Parish Library offers a free service called Homework Louisiana in which students in grades kindergarten through college can receive live one-on-one help from qualified tutors online by visiting homeworkla.org.

The service is open Sunday through Thursday from 2 p.m. to midnight, with tutors available to help with homework, projects, studying, essay writing and test prep in more than 20 subjects. Students may also submit papers to be proofread and have 24-7 access to worksheets, videos, practice problems and other skill-building resources.

“Feedback for Homework Louisiana is overwhelmingly positive,” said Amy Duke, Teen Services Librarian for the St. Charles Parish Library. “St. Charles Parish has very high usage when compared with other parishes of similar population.”

Duke noted that over 1,000 people in St. Charles Parish used Homework Louisiana during the 2017-18 school year.

According to a May 2017 usage report, in live one-to-one sessions feedback, 100 percent of respondents indicated that the services is helping them study for school. 94 percent say that it is helping improve their grades and 95 percent say it is helping them be more confident about their school work.

The library has offered Homework Louisiana since August 2010.

That’s one of a number of programs and tools offered by the library, both on-site and through its website at www.myscpl.org.

The St. Charles Parish Library will have a table set up at the St. Charles Parish Youth Rally as well as at almost all of the upcoming orientations and open houses at the parish’s elementary, middle, and high schools. Library staff members will be on hand to register people for library cards, show off helpful resources, and answer questions about the library.

A pair of Back to School fairs will be offered in September that are aimed at showcasing easy-to-use tech resources aimed at making homework and school projects easier for busy parents and their children. Refreshments and giveaways will be on hand for those who attend, who will also have the opportunity to learn more about after school activities. The West Regional Library will host the fair on Sept. 8, from 10 a.m. to noon, while the East Regional Library will host its own on Sept. 12 from 5 to 7 p.m.

“We know that homework help and research tools can be a dry subject, but we’re hoping to make it an inviting, festive atmosphere for everyone by having a lot of hands-on experiences and having popcorn available for everyone,” said Lauren Pitz, St. Charles Parish Library spokeswoman.

Pitz said the fairs are planned for about a month after school starts to give both parents and students time to get into their school routine and get an idea of what sort of things they’ll need for a successful school year. The fair will put a lot of the library’s resources in one place with library staff available to explain how to use them and what they can be used for.

“So, the focus of the fairs is to show the types of resources and homework help that we have rather than focus on activities. Learning about the activities is a bonus,” Pitz said.

This fall, students will also be able to attend Projectpalooza, an open session where middle and high school students can put together their science and social studies fair projects using the library’s supplies.

The East Regional Library is located at 160 W. Campus Dr. in Destrehan and can be reached at 985-764-2366. The West Regional Library is located at 105 Lakewood Dr. in Luling and can be reached at (985) 785-8471.

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