Sunday, October 01, 2006

Homework Program

Well, after much anticipation, the new Homework Drop-In Program is set to begin tomorrow!

I think I mentioned here a while back that I was interested in starting an after-school tutoring program. I had no idea what I was doing, and no idea if it was feasible, but I mentioned it to the director and got the go-ahead. At that point, I don't think he thought it would go anywhere, as two days ago, at the training session for the tutors, he said, "I'm so impressed that you did this."

Anyway, what i "did" was contact the service learning programs at the two area colleges and let them know that we had a volunteer opportunity here at the library. I sent over an outline of the program, my e-mail address, and watched in amazement as the e-mail started to arrive. What was even more interesting was how wrong I was in my initial assumptions concerning the participation levels from the colleges: Roger Williams, my alma mater, came through with two-thirds of the volunteers and even invited me to a Service Fair, while Salve Regina remained a bit more "hands off" (but still provided some very nice volunteers for the program). I also put up flyers in the library hoping to attract a few patrons, but um, no.

This past Thursday I held a "tutor training session" and marveled at my 17 shiny, new volunteers! I am unbelievably thrilled at this turnout, and the "kids" all seemed really enthusiatic. It is very possible that when they left they said, "Wow, she's crazy," but, whatever.

Initially, I contacted the librarian at the high school and figured I'd promote the program there, first. Well, it didn't take long before word reached the middle school, and I've had several e-mails from parents interested in the program. I purposely waited until I had some volunteers signed up before promoting at the schools, but I had parents coming in to inquire before I even had the details ironed out - cool, and kinda scary.

So, I am going in on my day off tomorrow to be on hand for the first day. The Director informed me that the newspaper would be by to take pics - not sure if he called them or if they got wind of it some other way (and I hope there are kids there to take pics of - I DO NOT want my photo in the paper!). I didn't even get as far as putting a press release in the paper - seems the middle school has its own listserv (which is neat).

I really think there is a need for this type of program in Middletown. And I also would really like to increase the teen traffic IN the actual library, and ON the library's various teen blogs. But, if just a few kids learn how to use the catalog and maybe - gasp! - one of the databases, I'll be thrilled.

Hmmmm, I wonder if this will lead to more work - in some way, shape, or form, for me. That'd be nice.

1 comment:

Octobrarian said...

I think this is a great idea. It's amazing how an idea can come to fruition so quickly. I read about in a local newspaper the other day and when I read this article it came to mind. Homegrown initiatives like your program are certainly better (and cheaper) than something like this, but it looks interesting nonetheless. Cheers! I just started a 'blog and am trolling through all of the library blogs out there....if you have time check it out: The Octobrarian.