There are few words and phrases that strike fear in the hearts of parents. Parents and caregivers of children are generally of hearty stock and are able to navigate most things the rough seas of parenting throws at them. But what about homework? Yes, I said it, h-o-m-e-w-o-r-k, and I’ll be the first to admit that the thought of it does not turn my frown upside-down. There’s intrinsic value in it though, and homework is important to complete. For home-based learners, or those who attend any version of school, having the right resources is key, and fortunately, your local Timberland Regional Library (TRL) has a plethora of them to help our learners solve the mysteries of their homework.

Timberland Regional Library-Aberdeen construction activity
The library is a great place to connect with other homeschoolers to “think outside the box.” Photo courtesy: Timberland Regional Library

The Homeschool Card

Are you a homeschooler? TRL has a special type of library card just for you! Just bring your letter of intent to homeschool to unlock the additional benefits. Homeschoolers may check out up to 50 items for five weeks, in most cases, and may place a hold on 25 items at a time. (For comparison, with a standard library account, checkouts are for three weeks on most items, one week on feature films).

Free Wi-Fi and Free Printing

The Wi-Fi and printing benefits of the library are huge, too. TRL offers free Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi printing, and a generous 100 free pages of printing per week. There are public computers available in every Timberland library that you can reserve by the hour and a wealth of electronically accessible online resources such as Gale In Context – High School and Gale in Context – Science which can be accessed from the library or at home.

Reference Databases

Gale can be found on the library’s home page in the Reference Databases, and you may remember this article, where we explored the Databases and their massive capabilities.

To find Gale, and many other databases, head to the TRL website and look for a tab toward the top of the page titled “Learn.” From the drop-down menu, you’ll see Homework Help for Teens, and Gale is stashed there. Within the database, there are magazine and newspaper articles, biographies, critical analyses, and primary sources for high school-level assignments.

By now, we all know that discerning authenticity is the first step in examining what we see online and in the media, and teachers LOVE the authoritative sources that Gale provides.

I  like A to Z Maps Online. My favorite part is that maps are formatted to print easily on 8-inch by 11-inch paper. There’s something about physically holding a map, that to me is a crucial part of the learning experience, (and I’m also thankful for my children to have one less encounter with a screen).

The maps are political, physical, thematic, and historical, and there are outline maps from the US and around the world. When it comes to homework, this database is a cartographic gem.

As one would expect from the information-savvy library system, the databases pertaining to homework are smartly organized. Check out Homework Help for Kids or Homework Help for Teens, depending on your needs.

Ask a Librarian

Timberland Regional Library-Aberdeen kid activities
The Aberdeen Library is a great place for a group think. Photo courtesy: Timberland Regional Library

The amount of homework help resources that the Timberland library offers is staggering and sometimes you may need some additional help. If ever you find yourself needing to talk to a real person, use the Ask a Librarian service.

Many people aren’t aware of this service, and I find it to be one of the coolest perks of having a library card. Growing up, I thought librarians were all some form of an omniscient oracle, (truthfully, I still kind of think this), and having the ability to ask them about anything is a real gift for homework problem solvers.

The librarians are prepared to find the information and resources you need, but no, they won’t write your report for you. (Nice try though!).  You may ask your factual question by phone at 360-704-4636 (Olympia area) or 800-562-6022 (toll-free outside of the Olympia area). Of course, they take email submissions too, and you may submit those via an easy web-based form on the Timberland library website.

Interlibrary Loan

I once went on a tour of the library’s service center. (Yeah, I’m that nerdy gal), and was shocked to find a whole department dedicated to Interlibrary loans! These hardworking folks are dedicated. Devoted. Determined – in finding the resource you need. If our library doesn’t have it – it’s a good bet that another one does, and these eager librarians are going to borrow it for you. Use the Interlibrary Loan or Purchase Request Form to get started.

It’s pretty magical.

MyTRL

Timberland Regional Library -McCleary Crafts for kids
Along with electronic and book help, the Libraries offer fun activities, such as art, that help kids learn.  Photo courtesy: Timberland Regional Library

School Districts teamed up with TRL to provide every K-12 student with a wider range and depth of information via their vast electronic services.

In a partnership full of parent’s-dreams-come-true, special accounts were created for all students, which allow them to log in to the Timberland library website from school or home, on any computer or device, all without needing a physical card. This special account allows students to use the library system’s large and updated collection of electronic resources and students can view and check out electronic library resources that are automatically returned, so no fines will incur. “Hooray!” said parents everywhere, no books to track down from under the bed. In this case. There are still plenty of books under beds – at my house at least.

Visit YOUR Library

Yes, homework and homeschooling is hard work, but it doesn’t have to be painful. The Timberland Regional Library has made it easy to get help when you need it, resources when you want them, and is still the quintessential quiet place to study that we have all grown to love. Surrounded by books, digital resources, helpful librarians, (oracles!), and other like-minded knowledge seekers, your library is a great place to solve a mystery – even homework ones.

Timberland Regional Library-Elma Reading with Dogs at the library
Read with furry friends at the Timberland Library in Elma. Photo courtesy: Timberland Regional Library

Aberdeen: 121 East Market Street
360-533-2360

Amanda Park: 6118 U.S. Highway 101
360-288-2725

Elma: 119 North 1st Street
360-482-3737

Hoquiam: 420 7th Street
360-532-1710

McCleary: 121 South 4th Street
360-495-3368

Montesano: 125 Main St. S
360-249-4211

Oakville: 204 Main Street
360-273-5305

Westport: 101 E. Harms Drive
360-268-0521

#ilovemylibrary

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