Caring Councils Clock on to Out-of-School Homework

Article excerpt

THE nation's municipal libraries are haunts for school students studying and socialising in the afternoons and evenings, and some councils are seeing their presence as an educational opportunity.

While some librarians might feel fully taxed with the present complement of students, the idea is to bring more of them in, with appropriately trained staff to help them.

Teachers are the free tutors.

One council in Sydney has expanded its free homework tutoring program for school students little more than six months after its launch, with scores of youngsters and teenagers using the service.

Canterbury City Council in Sydney's south began its program at its main library in Campsie last July, after seeing the success of nearby Marrickville Council's program. Both areas have high immigrant populations.

Tutor availability is advertised at the libraries and schools. Different subjects are available on different nights.

The council employs up to five tutors, usually high school teachers, but graduates will be considered, with pay offered at about $20 an hour plus a 20 per cent leave loading.

The casual shifts for the tutors total four nights a school-term week at Campsie from 4-7pm, and one night a week at three branch libraries, Earlwood, Lakemba and Riverwood.

The program was expanded into the branch libraries this year.

Canterbury's information services librarian, Michelle Mashman, said the service was available to students from Years 3 to 12.

"The students can come and go as they want. They let the tutors know what sort of help they're after," she said. …