Library cooperative offering free online tutoring

By: Kristyne E. Demske, | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published October 10, 2017

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Offering everything from books to music, DVDs to online magazine rentals, admission to local museums and more, it can seem like these days the library is the place to get everything.

Now, it’s also offering free online tutoring — available without ever leaving home.

With their library card numbers handy, students of all ages can avail themselves of live one-on-one help from certified teachers with master’s degrees every day from 4 to 11 p.m. through Tutor.com. The service is provided for free to members of the St. Clair Shores Public Library and other Suburban Library Cooperative member libraries.

Shutterstock image

St. Clair Shores Library Director Rosemary Orlando said that the cooperative puts together a plan of service each year with the goal of providing services to all 21 of the member libraries — which include all libraries in Macomb County, as well as the Troy and Harper Woods public libraries. 

This year, Orlando said, the cooperative decided to offer the Tutor.com service, which has 40 subjects available for students to receive help with, including math, science, social studies, English and foreign languages. There are also online test preparation courses for the SAT and ACT tests, study guides, flashcards and online quizzes, as well as résumé templates and sample cover letters for those looking for a job. 

“One of the neat things is, you can submit a paper and the tutors will evaluate and critique it and suggest changes, and that’s an exciting feature,” Orlando said. 

Many of the resources and templates are available at all times, but the live online tutoring is available each afternoon and evening.

“They will walk you through the steps, helping you solve it. They’re not providing answers for anything,” Orlando said. 

Suburban Library Cooperative Director Tammy Turgeon said that an increase in state aid for public libraries this year enabled them to purchase the Tutor.com subscription. It cost about $80,000 for the cooperative to subscribe to the program.

“If everyone had to buy this individually, it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars,” she said. “If it’s being used, we’ll continue to purchase this. It’s up to the members to decide what we’re going to spend the money on.”

Turgeon said her own son used the service a few weeks ago and had a great experience. She said that a few moments after putting in the subject he was needing help with, he was in a live chat with the tutor, sharing an online whiteboard where he could write or draw, working with the tutor to solve his problem.

“It’s a really great service. Hopefully, it will save parents aggravation,” she said. 

Turgeon, who is also the director of the Sterling Heights Public Library, said that some member libraries were already providing tutoring services, and Tutor.com seemed to complement that.

“It’s helpful for the students just to be able to have that outside person helping them learn,” she said. 

Anyone with an active St. Clair Shores Public Library card can access the service for free by going to scslibrary.org, clicking on the Online Resources button at the top of the page and then clicking on www.Tutor.com.