October 3, 2013

Chicago Public Library Now Offers Largest Homework Help Program in Nation

Teacher in the Library and Online Tutoring Offer Study Assistance to Students 24 Hours a Day

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Library (CPL) Commissioner Brian Bannon today announced that Teacher in the Library is now offered at all 80 Library locations and the addition of online tutoring help through Brainfuse makes the Chicago Public Library’s homework assistance program the largest and most comprehensive in the nation. 

“Opportunities to learn shouldn’t stop when the school bell rings and Teacher in the Library offers students an added resource to receive help with their studies, at libraries across the city,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  “The addition of online tutoring allows us to offer students the most comprehensive library homework assistance in the country and demonstrates the city’s continuing commitment and investment in our children.”

In January, Mayor Emanuel and Commissioner Bannon announced an expansion of the Teacher in the Library program to provide homework support for children throughout Chicago. As a result, homework help offerings were expanded to all neighborhood branches through partnerships with local universities that offer teacher certification and additional higher education programs with service learning and internship components.  Thanks to the Chicago Public Library Foundation, all Teachers in the Library are now supported with laptops as part of the expansion. 

“These programs focus on helping with assigned homework and reinforcing concepts from the classroom,” said Commissioner Brian Bannon. “By adding important digital tools to the extensive resources that are already available for students, children have more resources for help understanding and completing their homework assignments.”

Through Brainfuse, CPL provides one-on-one online tutoring seven days per week, between 2 p.m. and 11 p.m., for all students with a library card. This online homework service provides students tutoring, collaboration and study tools in Math, Science, Social Sciences, English, Language Arts and Computer Literacy. Assistance in these core subjects is available in English and Spanish for all students, from early elementary through advanced college prep. The site also provides a Spanish language study center and ESL assistance, as well as test preparation tools for the ACT/SAT, GED, and the USCIS citizenship test. 

Students also have access to comprehensive writing assistance and productivity software assistance.  For those requiring more detailed explanations of difficult concepts, students can submit questions to tutors or join online study groups in the Brainfuse classroom at any time, 24 hours a day .  The Adult Learning Center includes all of these resources geared toward adult learners. 

In the 2012-13 school year, 62,402 homework help sessions were completed in 57 branch libraries.

The Chicago Public Library’s Teacher in the Library program is privately funded through gifts to the Chicago Public Library Foundation. By establishing partnerships with teacher certification programs at local universities, as well as other higher education programs with service learning requirements, the Library is able to offer additional homework assistance. University of Illinois at Chicago was the first education school to sign on to this innovative program expansion. CPL has support from nine other collaborating organizations that are working to recruit students. These include Columbia College, DePaul University, Dominican University, Loyola University, National Louis University, North Park University, Northwestern University, Teach for America Alumni, and University of Illinois-Chicago Center for Literacy.


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