Creating & Managing the Full-Service Homework Center

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Despite the proliferation of online homework websites and tutoring services, public libraries still have an important role to play when it comes to supporting young people’s educational needs. Public libraries that take a proactive approach—by setting up organized homework centers—have the potential to become catalysts for better performance in school, improved self-esteem, and engaged learning. Whether readers are investigating the possibility of setting up a center from scratch or are eager to revamp an existing center, this book shows the way forward with

  • discussion of the philosophy behind a public library homework center and its many benefits, with useful talking points for getting stakeholders on board;
  • examples of model programs from across the country;
  • guidance on assessing the community’s educational priorities and utilizing outcome-based planning and evaluation methods;
  • pragmatic advice on how to collaborate with schools and educators to coordinate goals;
  • thorough consideration of such key issues as carving out a space, setting hours, scheduling staff, and selecting and procuring educational resources;
  • handy tools for a successful homework center, including sample surveys, homework helper application forms and contracts, staff and volunteer job descriptions, and focus group questions;
  • advice on equipment and technology considerations; and
  • methodologies for evaluation and improvement.

This comprehensive resource will help public libraries create and manage a vibrant homework center that effectively serves students while also building community support for the library.


Chapter 1    Why Homework Centers?
Chapter 2    Community Assessment
Chapter 3    Service Plan
Chapter 4    Staff and Volunteer Recruitment
Chapter 5    Job Duties and Training
Chapter 6    Funding and Partnerships
Chapter 7    Collaboration with Schools
Chapter 8    Space and Location
Chapter 9    Service Hours
Chapter 10    Programming and Corollary Services
Chapter 11    Library Resources
Chapter 12    Supplies and Equipment
Chapter 13    Security, User Expectations, and Rules of Conduct
Chapter 14    Media and Public Relations
Chapter 15    Evaluation and Measuring Outcomes


A    Model Homework Programs
B    Community Assessment Tools
C    Homework Staff Recruitment Announcements
D    Homework Helper Application Forms
E    Homework Helper Contract
F    Homework Staff Job Descriptions
G    Training Modules
H    Staff Manual Excerpts
I    Letter of Intent
J    Teacher Letters
K    Registration Forms
L    Survey Instruments


Cindy Mediavilla

Cindy Mediavilla is the author of Creating the Full–Service Homework Center in Your Library (ALA, 2001), which has been called “the quintessential guide to the practicalities of setting up a formal homework help center to provide one–to–one homework assistance to student patrons” (Intner, Homework Help from the Library, ix). In the early 1990s Mediavilla managed a homework center, called the Friendly Stop, for the Orange (CA) Public Library, and she has been studying after–school homework programs ever since. She has published several articles on the topic and has evaluated homework programs for the Long Beach and Los Angeles public libraries. She has made presentations on homework help programs at the conferences of several major library associations, and she has also conducted many workshops on the topic. A former public librarian for 18 years, Mediavilla has both an MLS degree and a doctorate in library science from UCLA.

"This imaginative book offers librarians a unique opportunity to fashion creative learning centers ... The content is inspiring and offers straightforward advice for professionals interested in developing homework centers that support curriculum needs. Every librarian who strives to meet the learning needs of today’s youth needs to read this book. In addition, teachers and trainers would find this contribution to be an essential planning tool to assist in curriculum foundations."

”A well-researched, all-inclusive guide ... The lengthy, beneficial appendix provides practical tools and details of all the steps necessary to follow the concrete examples discussed throughout the text.”

”A solid guide for public librarians wishing to develop a homework center for students.”
— School Library Journal

”If your library is considering a homework help center or if you already have one, but you wish it was more successful, you're likely to find just the help and advice you need in this book.”
— Public Libraries