Tutor.com online tutor available, 2006
These folks won't
give you the answers
But the library system will help you find them
LAVALE — Algebra II is scary enough when the teacher is at the front of the classroom — imagine it at 10 o'clock at night, and your homework assignment is due the next morning.
Carly Drake can vouch for the fact that the Allegany County Library System understands, offering aid in the form of an online tutor when most of the rest of the world has gone to bed.
A personal library number is all that's needed to make the difference between merely passing a subject and excelling, information that director of the library system John Taube wants county students to know about.
"We learned that we had to extend the hours to meet the needs of students participating in sporting events," Taube said of the cyber-help available 10 hours a day, every day of the year.
Tutor.com Live Homework Help can be accessed from any personal computer for assistance with homework seven days a week between the hours of 2 p.m. to midnight.
Students in fourth through 12th grades as well as college freshmen can receive help in math, science, social studies and English.
Carly's mother, Nora Drake, a librarian at the LaVale branch of the library system, explained her daughter's distress when she was struggling with algebra II.
"She felt she needed a little more instruction with some of her questions," Nora said of her daughter's motivation to seek after-hour help online.
"They don't provide the answers — they guide them through the process," Nora said of the system manned by teachers and professors from across the United States.
Figures released for 2005 showed that there were 149 students served by the online tutoring in May, followed by 137 in November and 131 in March.
January, February, June, September and December had less than 100 hits each, with April serving 104 students and 122 serviced in October. July and August experienced no usage at all.
In sessions that lasted between 12 to 25 minutes on the average, help in essay writing, chemistry and biology was sought most often by middle and high school students, while math and science help was sought most often by grades four through eight.
Nearly 200 inquiries were made to the system from college-intro level students.
Comments left by the student users ranged from calling the setup "funny" and "positive," to gratitude expressed more than once, sometimes with a simple "thanks."
"This site is really helpful and all kids should be able to get on this site any time that they need to in school, and teachers should recommend this site to students." said a ninthgrader who was accessing the system in November.
The interactive service AskUsNow! is also offered online and is available 24 hours a day/seven days a week for Maryland residents and students.
Using Internet chat, trained librarians provide answers to questions, research guidance and aid in navigating various Web sites.
After a session usually lasting 15 minutes, the online librarian may offer to follow up by e-mail if a question cannot be answered in the standard time frame.
The live homework practice tests and tutorials are only one of the county system's databases available, listed along with magazines and journals, biographies, literary works and encyclopedias.
Articles and information for kids, health, foundations and grants are offered via the system, which also provides information on genealogy, census, telephone numbers and addresses.
An Allegany County library card serves a diverse population from a large geographic area, including residents of Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Free to residents of Maryland, a $10 annual fee will be charged for all non-Maryland residents.
Two forms of identification showing a current name and address are necessary at the time of registration.
A driver's license, checkbook, bill, or voter registration card are all possible forms of identification.
Children may use a report card as identification and must be able to print their full names to apply for a card.
Applications for children under 16 must be signed by a parent.
Cindy Karelis, Cumberland Times-News
Fort Hill High School junior Carly Drake, 16, gets help with her trigonometry from www.tutor.com at the LaVale Library. Looking on is her mother, Nora.
Public libraries, Maryland, Allegany County; Allegany County Library System (Md.), Anniversaries.
Allegany County (Md,), 1924-2010