NewsPhoenix Metro NewsCentral Phoenix News


Burton Barr Library offers free college help and education outreach

Posted at 6:38 AM, Aug 13, 2018

The Burton Barr Library in Phoenix is bustling, helping more people than ever. Now they want to help future college students get a leg up on their education.

They're offering free college services to make sure students get in and go home with a degree. It's through their College Depot program.

As long as you have a library card, anyone can find the full-service college access center and organizers ready to help.

At College Depot people can get one-on-one assistance and get help filling out financial forms.

Employees will also help people look up and apply for scholarships to help pay for school.

College Depot debuted in 2009 and has been growing ever since.

Things looked grim when the library had to shut down because of monsoon storm damage in 2017, but now, with some major upgrades, they're helping people in record amounts.

College Depot Director Judy Reno says, "Our center has more than tripled in size and so, as a result, we're able to increase the capacity of our programs to a record-breaking amount. So we're serving more students than ever before."

There are other free services to help bring education to everyone in Valley neighborhoods through Project SOAR. It's a partnership with College Depot and the Phoenix Housing Department.

Instead of people going to the library for services, workers hit the streets and take the tools to them.

Those behind Project SOAR head to public housing where they know people between 15 and 20 years old live. They talk about education resources available to them and their families -- something they may not otherwise have known.

The journey to education really does become a family affair. Bianca Ramirez came to College Depot with her mother her senior year. Now she's a thriving Arizona State University Sun Devil, now trying to get her brother on track.

"It's really hard to tell a 15-year-old like, 'Hey, wake up early on a Saturday and let's go learn about college,' you know, as a freshman. But he has this non-stop idea now that, 'Hmm, I kinda do like this college' or, 'I kinda want to become an engineer,'" Ramirez says.

She's now working at College Depot through Americorps to help other students.