5 Tips for School Success @ the Library

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library’s emphasis on reading and education doesn’t stop with the summer reading program. It is a year-round project that parents can use to help their children be successful:


“You can expect that your child will have homework of some kind,” said LeAnn Petrie, Youth Service Supervisor. “It’s important to give kids a predictable time and place to study.”

The library can provide that place with the Oveson-Campbell Homework Center. It is open Monday through Thursday from 4-8pm and Sunday from 2-6pm during the school. The homework coaches, Leah Anderson and Tracie Hundley, both have degrees in education and help K-12 students.


Some students come to the center only once or periodically. Others come in every night after school.

“Right after progress reports, kids come in with big stacks of make-up work. It’s easier if they come in every day so they don’t get behind,” Hundley said.

Kids do not even need a library card to use the Homework Center computers. Coaches will help students log in to type papers, do research, find pictures for projects, play a educational game – anything related to learning. Kids can even print items related to their assignments for free.


For younger students, try Bookflix for help learning to read. Opposing Viewpoints is a good resource for older students. In the library you can access American History and State Geography for free homework help. Other online resources include databases, encyclopedias, and “Culturegrams,” a web-based program where students can virtually explore other cultures.

“Many of our online resources are set up using national curriculum standards, so you can be sure that your child is looking at something that will meet with the teacher’s approval,” Petrie said.


The library offers a lot of programs for school-aged children, like Zoo Animals Live and Crazy Extreme Science for “edutainment.” We also provide silent study rooms for those who need quiet to concentrate.

High school-age students who are contemplating continuing education can use our free ACT and SAT preparatory guides and sample tests online.

Parents who choose to educate their children at home may use curriculum guides at the library as well as resources for activities and reports. No matter where and how your child is educated, the library can help.


“Reading is the key to education, which is one reason why it is so important to instill it as a habit in your children,” said LeAnn Petrie, Youth Services supervisor. “After second grade, kids are no longer learning to read; they are reading to learn, so reading affects everything else.”

To help, the library has a Fall Reading Program similar to the summer program. It offers prizes as incentives for children to read, including a free book. Petrie suggests that struggling readers use the library’s audiobooks or CliffsNotes paired with a book to help push them through. Sign up for fall reading at the Youth Services desk or on a bookmobile starting Sept. 20.

Learn more about the fall reading program incentives and sign up today.

2 thoughts on “5 Tips for School Success @ the Library

  1. My son is in 5th grade and is having a very difficult time learning grammar. His class uses the Shurley Method English Made Easy. Well it’s not so easy for him. For the afterscholl homework program, would someone be there that could provide him with extra help? Or if you might know of someone that tutors in this area please let me know.

    Thank you

  2. Hi Tonya. I’m Jason, the tween librarian (ages 9-12) in Youth Services.

    Our homework coaches don’t do general tudoring, but as long as your son has a specific homework assignment, he can get the help he needs at the Homework Center. It’s open Monday-Thursday, 4-8 p.m. and Sunday 2-6 p.m.

    Of course, reading more will help improve his grammar and writing. If he’s a reluctant or struggling reader, we can help. The trick is finding books that peak his intersts and are in a format that keeps his interest. Feel free to email me with details about his interests and some of the books he’s read and enjoyed. I can provide a list of some books to start with. Based on that list, we can see what he liked and disliked, and then adjust accordingly. Sometimes it takes a little while, but we can help!

Comments are closed.