In the wake of COVID-19, the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District Foundation’s Teachers in the Libraries tutoring service is needed more than ever as students and parents struggle with distance learning. The combination of free CCSD-certified teachers and free public WiFi, computers, printer services, and other library resources have been a lifesaver to students and parents who need access to technology as well as help with homework.
The Library District opened all branches in early June following the March 17, 2020 Governor-mandated shutdown due to the pandemic. In July 2020 library branch managers met to see if bringing tutors back into the branches was feasible. The resounding response from all eight library branch managers was that their families were having difficulty with online learning and they were anxious to be able to offer live tutors again. Given this information, the Library District’s Health and Safety Taskforce immediately began preparing for live tutor sessions in the eight branch locations, with appropriate janitorial services; PPE for students, tutors, and parents; plexiglass dividers for tutor sessions; and additional laptops for use by students who do not have devices.
Sponsored by Windsong Trust and the United Way of Southern Nevada, teacher tutors returned to eight urban branches on September 21, 2020 following an orientation which reviewed all COVID-19 protocols for working at the Library District facilities. From September to March, 632 students participated in 3,988 tutor sessions, with a homework completion rate of 98%. We continue to hear great feedback from tutors, parents, and students who see huge improvements in grades, confidence, and drive to achieve better academic results. One tutor told this story:
“A new middle schooler started coming to the library for homework help. During our first time working together, she commented that she had learned more working at the library with me than she had learned all semester in class. Now she will wait until I can check her work before submitting an answer in her online Aleks math program.”