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Homework Center provides comfortable learning environment

If your child is looking for a secure, friendly place to do their after school studies before the supper hour, then the West Fargo Public Library is the perfect place to turn with the official opening of their Homework Center for the new school year on Sept. 1. Geared specifically for students Kindergarten through Eighth Grade, the center is open from 3 to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, located on the library's third (upper) floor. The center is closed on Fridays and days when school is not in session.

The homework center was initially realized three years ago for the purpose of providing school children with the outlet to work on their class assignments at the close of their regular school day in a controlled setting.

Diane Fink, program coordinator for the library who oversees the center, said library officials saw a real need for the facility as a place for kids to turn to focus on their homework and give them a chance to feel comfortable, all with a little bit of help from staff. "The homework center has really seemed to help students struggling in certain areas," she noted, pointing out as a for instance, spelling, where the library accommodates students with white boards to practice their words and also staff to test their skills. "It's very easy for everyone and it's supervised," Fink added, "but it is not actual tutoring time, we are only there to help when the help is requested."

She said those attending "have to be independent, we are not a daycare, instead a place where students can do a little extra studying, whether it's reading, research or whatever the activity. They need to bring their own materials to work on and be busy when they are here, whether they are studying alone or with a buddy, they are expected to follow library etiquette." There is no charge for the center and a snack is always provided.

Kids sign in by name and include a phone number so library staff has a reference if they need it, in case a student becomes sick, or there is a discipline issue. Those participating don't need to stay the whole time, they can come and go any time; and no transportation is provided. There is also a phone located in the room, so the kids can call their parents and say 'I'm here,' 'I'm leaving,' or 'I'm ready to be picked up,' or so a parent can get in touch with their child if they need to by calling the library number at 433-5460 and being connected.

Fink noted that most of the students who visit the center now are primarily first through fourth graders, but now that the West Fargo School District's Stem Program is based out of the location, involving 7th and 8th graders, she is thinking the center may also see more of those students visiting the after school setting.

Students presently involved in the center are liking what they are finding, Fink emphasized. "It gives them a little bit of security." Fink said she is savoring every moment she spends with students. "I am having a wonderful time and love doing what I'm doing." On the whole, she added she is "overwhelmed by all the people who are so supportive of all the library programs that are happening, but admits her passion right now is with the youngsters. "I want to connect these kids with our library. They are our future."

Anyone with inquiries about any of the West Fargo Public Library programs can secure more information by calling 701-433-5460 or by visiting their Web site at