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February 24, 2018

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Library News Release

Release Date: 10/19/2006

The Seattle Public Library offers students wide variety of free online and one-on-one homework assistance

Students in Seattle never have to be stumped by a tough homework assignment again!

The Seattle Public Library offers a variety of homework help resources from its Web site at, including an Online Homework Help tutoring service, an around-the-clock Ask A Librarian reference service and access to more than 60 specialized databases and online tools. The Library also offers one-on-one, in-person homework assistance at five branches.

Online Homework Help
Online Homework Help, a free online tutoring service, allows students to get immediate help from qualified tutors by visiting and selecting "Homework Help" from the "Quick Links" menu.

Online Homework Help connects students to expert tutors in math, science, social studies and English via the Internet from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Spanish-speaking tutors are available from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. The service is designed for students in grades four through 12. Students can use the service from Library computers or from remote locations, such as computers from schools or homes. Students must have library cards from The Seattle Public Library to use Online Homework Help.

"Last year, we served more than 400 students every month with Online Homework Help," said Chance Hunt, manager of Youth Services for the Library. "We're working hard to double that number in the coming school year."

Once students log onto the site, they simply choose their grade level and the subject they need help in. At that point, they are instantly connected with a tutor.

Hunt explained that a help session operates as an online chat with the student and tutor corresponding in real time. "A student and instructor, for example, can use a drawing board in the 'online classroom' to draw images, formulas and diagrams that both can see instantly," he said. "A tutor also can send appropriate Web sites to a student to provide helpful information for an assignment." Printouts of sessions are available for students.

Hunt emphasized that "tutors are trained to help students with their homework without doing the work for them." All tutors are certified teachers, college professors, professional tutors or graduate school students from across the country.

Online Homework Help, powered by, is made possible through a generous grant provided by The Seattle Public Library Foundation.

Ask a Librarian
Up after midnight cramming for a test? The Library offers live online reference service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Simply visit, select "Ask a Librarian" and choose "Chat with a Librarian." The service is available 365 days per year, including holidays. Students do not need a library card to use the service and downloading software is not required.

Librarians and subject experts can interact with students in a number of ways using online chat. For example, librarians and subject experts can help navigate Web sites, highlight certain sections of Web pages, and send Web site links.

Unlike Online Homework Help, Ask A Librarian service is not a tutoring service. "We provide answers to questions, though we prefer to show students where they can find the answers themselves," said Nancy Foley, librarian in General Reference Services. "We can point students to good resources for doing research."

"Online Homework Help would be a good place to go for help with a calculus problem, but Ask a Librarian would be better for biographical information about Sir Isaac Newton," said Foley.

Online Databases
And where might a student find biographical information about Newton? How about the Biography Resource Center or the Science Resource Center, just two of the more than 60 databases in the Library's electronic collection at the "Databases & Web Sites" section of The section even has special categories for "Teen" and "Children."

"We provide access to so many useful tools that it's hard to name just a few that a student might use for homework or other school projects," said Rachel Martin, electronic resources librarian. See below for a list of just some of the Library's online offerings.

  • Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center - An online library of current event topics, complete with opposing arguments for each issue.
  • Learning Express Library - Interactive test preparation guides for the ASVAB, GRE, SAT and more.
  • ProQuest or eLibrary - A popular archive of magazine and newspaper articles.
  • Corbis Images for Education - A database of digital photographs covering art, science and history. The images can be used in school reports.
  • CultureGrams Online - Insider perspectives on world cultures.


Homework Help Centers
Free tutoring in math, science, English and social studies is currently available at Homework Help Centers at the following branches:

  • Columbia Branch, 4721 Rainier Ave. S., (206) 386-1908
    5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Delridge Branch, 5423 Delridge Way S.W., (206) 733-9125
    5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Douglass-Truth Branch 2300 E. Yesler Way, (206) 684-4704
    3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday
    3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday
    3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday
  • Lake City Branch, 12501 28th Ave. N.E., (206) 684-7518
    6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
  • NewHolly Branch, 7058 32nd Ave. S., (206) 386-1905
    5:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Wednesday


Library-trained homework helpers can assist students struggling to understand a homework assignment or needing ideas to start a research paper. Homework helpers also are familiar with the range of Library's other homework help resources and can devote one-on-one time with students that librarians sometimes cannot.

Individuals interested in becoming a Homework Help Center volunteer should contact Anne Vedella, Library volunteer services coordinator, at (206) 386-4614.

"The Library wants every student to be successful," said Hunt. "With our combination of in-person and virtual services, we're helping students tackle any homework challenge one question at a time."

For more information contact:

Andra Addison, communications director

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