When Sue Considine first heard about online tutoring at a national library conference, she was immediately interested in bringing it home to Fayetteville. About three years later, the executive director of the Fayetteville Free Library made it happen.
"Live Homework Help" is a free online tutoring service by Tutor.com that connects students to tutors in math, science, social studies and English. The more than 1,800 tutors provided for help are certified teachers, college professors, professional tutors, graduate or undergraduate school students from across the country -- all certified by Tutor.com and have received third party background checks.
"It's such a powerful complement to regular school," Considine said. "Every student would benefit from being able to have that extra help."
Considine emphasized that while not all students can afford private tutoring sessions, this service is free of charge and available to everyone with an Onondaga County library card. Students are welcome to come to the library or use the service at home. The only catch to use this help in a remote location is that the library card must be specifically from the FFL, as the library is launching the service as a pilot program.
"This first year is being completely funded by our Friends group," which Considine said is costing them $4,500 to support. The cost is based on a charter-to-serve size area. Fayetteville is chartered by the State Education Department to serve just over 10,000 people.
"[Friends of the Library] invested in this opportunity for Fayetteville and Manlius students. Anyone can come to the library, but remotely it has to be [an FFL agency card]." If you hold a library card from another agency or library, you can have it changed at the information desk for this purpose.
Additionally, no personal information is exchanged other than first names, Considine said. Students' sign in with a barcode and the only information that's being entered is input locally into the library's computer access point. Remotely, it's the same idea.