GLENDALE, AZ - Libraries have come a long way from the days of dusty card catalogues and "inside" voices.
The Glendale Public Library is helping children from pre-school through college not just with finding books, but learning how to read, write and even perform math calculations.
According to those who lend the helping hands, it all begins before grade school does.
"The more we learn about brain research we are finding that the critical issue is interaction," explained Kathy Pastores of the Glendale Public Library.
Thanks to a grant, all three Glendale library branches have installed literacy stations.
Think of them like mental playgrounds to help spark a child's curiosity.
The multi-sided wooden structures are studded with magnets, colors, letters and numbers.
It's a tactile environment that can serve as the first step.
"This is the lure to get children interested," said Pastores.
Once interested, the literacy centers offer opportunities for parents to read with their children, and for groups of children to interact. The little ones also learn about colors, letters, numbers and the connections that can be made with them.
"Those connections are so important as children develop," said Pastores.
As children develop the help doesn't stop.
For children in grade school through college, help is available in the form of free online tutoring.
"This is great for kids who are comfortable with the mouse and the Internet," said Paula Stroup, also of the Glendale Public Library.
Indeed, children who need help with their school work don't even have to physically enter the library.
They can log on from a home computer and seek help.
Stroup was demonstrating a game where virtual flashcards are used to teach state capitols.
"It's required learning for Arizona students, so this is a fun, easy way to learn," said Stroup.
The help is free of charge and is open as late at 10 p.m.
"This eases their frustration because they're actually working with a trained tutor who knows how to guide them through their concepts and work with them," said Stroup.
For students who are inching closer to college, the library offers free practice test sessions for the ACT/SAT college entrance exams.
The next round will be held Saturday, September 10 from 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Foothills Branch Library.
The combination ACT/SAT test will help students decide which one is right for them.
The following week on September 17th, the scores will be shown to students and feedback will be provided to help students process the information and learn where they stand.
Finally, in our Google driven world, the library offers free help for students who need to learn traditional research skills.
From searching for sources to citing them and then writing a paper, the staff can help students make the grade.
For any information on these programs and many more, you can contact the Glendale Public Library .
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