Gone are the days of brain-wracking and finger-crossing when being asked by your child about the order of operations in algebra, how to multiply in Base 8, why the League of Nations failed or the difference between “equivocate” and “prevaricate.” Kids can get answers to their most complicated homework or research project questions online, or on-site, at local public libraries. Not only can libraries provide computers and internet service, they let kids access some of the most exclusive, expensive databases available — for free.
Here’s a roundup of free homework resources. Check with your local library for details.
Chandler Public Library
480-782-2800 • chandlerlibrary.org
The four-branch library offers free Wi-Fi, public computers with library card or fee, wireless printing and apps. The Learning Lab — located in the Citrus Room on the first floor of the downtown branch — offers free, live, basic homework assistance for students through high school most weekday afternoons. No appointments or registration required. For online homework resources: Go to the website, click on the “Kids & Teens” tab, select “Kids” or “Teens.” Kids will find links for three age-appropriate databases. Teens will find links to eight more-advanced sites, as well as a link to “A-Z List of Databases” providing access to more than 30 additional resources. Click on the “Research & Learning” tab to go straight to “A-Z List of Databases.” These resources allow free access to reprinted material from books, magazines and newspapers.
Glendale Public Library
623-939-3537 • glendaleaz.com/library
The three branches of GPL offer patrons computer and internet access, Wi-Fi, printing (including mobile) services and reservable study rooms (at the Foothills branch only). GPL is the only public library that offers Brainfuse — online, live-chat, all-subject homework assistance for library card-holding students from kindergarten through college — available in Spanish or English, from 1-10 p.m. daily. To access, click on “Teens” on the GPL homepage, then the “Homework Help” sidebar listing or button on the “Teens” page, then select “Homework Help” again on the “E Source Home” electronic resources list, then sign in to Brainfuse. Or, click on “Kids” on the homepage, then select “Homework Help” from the sidebar list or by hitting the button. Then select Brainfuse and sign in. The other two selections on that Brainfuse kids page are “Got Research?” which takes the user to a list of 15 kid-friendly educational databases, or “Great Websites for Kids,” a selection of educational websites organized by topic for children from birth to age 14. For older teens looking for database information, find about 50 different selections by selecting “A to Z Databases” on the “E Source Home” page referenced above.
Maricopa County Library District
602-652-3000 • mcldaz.org
MCLD has 19 branches serving county residents living outside the greater Phoenix area, but any county resident may apply for a library card and use their services. Go to the website and click on the “Homework Help” button to connect with 14 free databases with research and learning resources for children, teens and adults. See the website for locations, hours, events and services specific to each branch.
Mesa Public Library
480-644-3100 • mesalibrary.org
The four branches that comprise MPL offer patrons computer, internet, Wi-Fi, copying and printing services. None of the branches offered wireless printing at press time. To access MPL’s online homework help resources, go to the library’s homepage and select the “Research” button. The drop-down menu offers several selections. The “Resources for Children” choice offers four databases: Kids InfoBits presents “research articles on a variety of subjects” for students from kindergarten through fifth grade; Miss Humblebee’s Academy is a curriculum for preschool through kindergarten; TumbleBook Cloud offers audio and ebooks, graphic novels and videos suitable for students and adults; and Tumble Books offers animated online picture books for kids. Slightly older students can select “eResources,” which allows selection of “Homework Help & Student Resources,” offering access to six databases, four of which are more appropriate for upper elementary/middle school students. Teens needing more meaty resources should click on the “A-Z List of Resources,” which offers access to about 60 databases covering many research areas.
Phoenix Public Library
602-262-4636 • phoenixpubliclibrary.org
All 17 locations offer free Wi-Fi, public computer access with a library card, mobile and on-site printing. Many have reservable study rooms and/or carrels. For online homework help, go to the main website and click on either “Browse the Library,” then “Learning & Research” and finally, the “Student HQ” button; or, “Teens” and the “Homework?” button which takes you to “Student HQ.” Both routes let you access any of 16 databases for kids, teens and adults. A few branches offer personalized, on-site homework help and tutoring. Check scheduling by going on the PPL website and accessing the online calendar. Use “tutoring” as the keyword. This fall, the Acacia branch is offering drop-in assistance to teens in the teen center from 6-7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The Mesquite branch is providing homework help and group tutoring from 4:30-6 p.m. Tuesdays.
Scottsdale Public Library
480-312-7323 • scottsdalelibrary.org
SPL has five branches with study rooms, internet-connected public computers, free Wi-Fi, fee-based copying, printing, scanning and outgoing faxing (except Palomino branch), and wireless printing. For online homework assistance, go to the library website, click on the “Teen” tab and then “Homework Help” to access 22 education-related databases for students of all ages, or click on the “Databases” button on the homepage and choose from “Homework Help K-12,” another of the 18 database subject icons, or click on the green “All Research Links” button to view a list of over 50 available databases and an equal number of non-library online resources, such as state and federal agency sites.
Tempe Public Library
480-350-5500 • tempepubliclibrary.org
TPL has study rooms, a kids’ learning lab and a youth computer lab available for completing homework assignments on site. Online, kids and teens can go from the library’s homepage to the “Kids & Teens’ menu and select “Youth 5-12” or “Teens 12-18” and the “Homework” button, which will take users to the “Students” page, full of advice on how to tackle a school project. It explains how to find overviews and books, use encyclopedias and other, more detailed resources and provides access to 23 databases as well as other specialized online tools.