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Technology and the Library Give Local Students the Edge

Expert Tutor Assistance Available Online

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[April 10, 2008]  Having trouble with a math problem? Mom and Dad can't figure it out either? The family dog just wags his tail when you ask him what to do? Well, who are you going to call?

Actually you don't need to place a call. All you have to do is go the Lincoln Public Library's online site,, and click on the smiling face logo that says "Live Homework Help." Who says the electronic age isn't great.

Louella Moreland, youth services librarian at the Lincoln Public Library, wants to get the word out on a new program available to students in our area who need help in school subjects. The program offers online tutoring by experienced, well-trained professionals in the fields of English, math, science and social studies for fourth grade through college intro to anyone with a Lincoln Public Library District card number.

Although the electronic tutoring service is offered by over 1,600 libraries throughout the country, the program is new to downstate Illinois. Moreland advised that the services have been made available to residents in this area through a grant from an unspecified source.

The program began in January and is already garnering interest. Moreland said that in the month of February, 30 area students took advantage of the tutoring help, and the word is just getting out.

"The company,, is staffed by experienced tutors who also are required to receive extensive training in their field of tutoring," Moreland explained. currently has over 2,000 experienced professionals available to help students with their studies.

All a student has to do is click on the homework help icon, put in their library card number, and they will have contact with a tutor experienced in the subject they are having trouble with.

Moreland is enthused about the help this could mean for students who are struggling in a subject or want to improve on a weakness. In cases where extensive tutoring is needed, tutors determine where the student is in a subject and go from there. "This process is very individualized to each student's needs," she said.

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"The learning process takes place via a chat room where a student and tutor can communicate back and forth on the subject," Moreland said. "In cases where computations are important, there is even a 'white board' available so a student can see how a math problem was solved. The tutor will also advise the student of other links where more information and a better explanation on the subject is available."

Moreland sees a huge benefit to this online tutoring system. "Parents have asked for help with their children, but nothing fit the bill like this," she said. "There were always problems with schedules and transportation, but this Internet service removes those problems."

There is also the possibility that some students who might feel embarrassed asking a teacher or friend to help them with a subject won't mind going online to get help from a professional without feeling as though the entire school knows they are having a problem with a subject.

There will be further benefits to the community down the line as reports start coming in that show the strengths and weaknesses of a student's abilities.

"Education is such an important part of a person's life. A good education can mean a totally different and better life is available when a student continues their education," Moreland stressed.

Getting the necessary help to keep that process in line online is now available in Lincoln and Logan County.

So relax, Mom and Dad. You are off the hook on that subject you only vaguely remember. Help for your child is only a few clicks away.

The help line is open from 4 to 10 p.m. daily, and students are urged to use this free service to help them with their studies. Again, as a reminder, all a student needs is a Lincoln Public Library District library card number to take advantage of the tutoring service.


Readers can find more of Mike Fak's writing at and

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