Fall means back-to-school, but at the Los Angeles Public Library learning never ceases. From assisting students enrolled in summer classes with research and resources to advising students on their school reading lists, librarians just wrapped up a busy season, including motivating over 30,000 kids to crack the books through the Summer Reading Clubs. As part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “Summer of Learning,” kids across the city were given badges for taking part in educational programs like a game designing workshop live-streamed to several neighborhood libraries. Hitting the ground running, LAPL’s librarians are energized and ready with a full slate of programs and resources to help students have a successful new school year.
With the recent adoption of Common Core State Standards for schools in California, there’s a greater emphasis on digital learning than ever before, so many of the Library’s resources like Student Zones are evolving to address the changing needs of students. Offering computers, study tables and homework supplies, including access to free electronic resources, online tutoring, and free printouts, Student Zones provide a safe, focused place for kids to study after school. Supported by the Library Foundation, Student Zones at 10 neighborhood libraries will be newly renovated for the fall, and Student Zone Helpers will be added to 15 branches to assist kids with their homework and computer questions.
“Our Student Zone has proven to be an invaluable resource to students,” explains Justin Sugiyama, a Young Adult Librarian at Benjamin Franklin Branch. “In our community many families cannot afford computers or Internet access so there is a real need.” With students being tasked to use online resources, as well as become proficient with digital media, the need for technological support is ever-expanding. “Librarians in general are very tech savvy, love to teach, and can provide both students and teachers with instruction in the use of digital resources such as electronic journal databases and online catalogs,” says Sugiyama.
Beyond helping students with current assignments, the Los Angeles Public Library is also committed to paving the path for lifelong learning. Made possible by generous donors of the Library Foundation, Student Smart offers full-length practice tests (SAT, PSAT, ACT), plus workshops and seminars to build study skills and prepare students for college. Recently, middle school students were invited to take part in a Student Smart College Motivational seminar at Central Library. “Only 5% of adults above age 25 in our community are college graduates,” says Sugiyama. “Hearing presentations and discussions on overcoming challenges from a panel of successful college graduates on the importance of higher education can make a real impact on young peoples lives here.”
Patsy Tuck, a librarian at the Eagle Rock Branch, is excited about the upcoming five-part SAT Preparation series as part of the Student Smart program, which is expanding from 5 branches to 12 for the 2014/2015 school year. “I’m always struck by the overwhelming positive reviews on surveys from teens,” says Tuck about Student Smart, which is the only program to offer free SAT prep in the entire city. Tuck believes the Library is a lifeline, “We are vital to the educational health of the City. I can see how we touch the lives of our patrons in a positive way on a daily basis,” Tuck says. “Our services are FREE to everyone in the City, we do not discriminate and we embrace our City’s diversity.”
Beyond free computer use and Wi-Fi, books, movies, and magazines, the Los Angeles Public Library offers a range of resources students need to succeed in school:
—Full STEAM Ahead – Workshops and resources that spark kids’ interest in science and technology.
—Live Homework Help – A free, online tutoring service for grades K to 12.
—Student Smart – Full-length practice tests (SAT, PSAT, ACT), plus workshops and seminars to build study skills and get ready for college.
—Student Zones – A place for kids to study and learn at the Library.
–Online homework resources and information like databases, word processing programs, and more.
Learn more about all of these programs at lapl.org/ya.