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Tulsa Library’s Teen Pages Offer Education, Information and Fun

Zach jogged through the front door and dropped his bag and coat on the bench in the hall. “Home, Mom!” he yelled. “Can I get on the computer?”

“For a little while,” she said. “Let me turn it on.”

Zach grinned. His parents had installed CyberGoverness on the computer in the den to keep him from going to places they didn’t want him to. It blocked access to most of the places his friends hung out at online, but Carter, his best friend, had told him about one site it didn’t block – Tulsa City County Library’s teen website.

Once his mom had set up the computer, she went back to making dinner with a reminder that he still needed to get his homework done. She left the den, and he hurriedly typed http://teens.tulsalibrary.org into the browser.

Zach scanned down the front page, looking at postings about new books at Hardesty Regional Library, video game programs at Martin Regional Library and an announcement about a meeting of the Jenks Library Teen Advisory Board. He was going to need some volunteer hours this semester. Maybe that would be a way to do it.

He was getting distracted, though. On to the good stuff. Zach clicked on “Books, Movies & Music.” There was the link for “Teen Reviews.” A friend said that he had reviewed a new CD, and there it was! Just to test it out, he filled out the form himself with a few sentences about a book they were reading in English class. The site told him his submission had been received. Hmm. What else was there to see?

Looking at the top, Zach saw “Teen Stuff.” Worth a shot, he thought. A click there brought him to a page with links to all kinds of useful places online. He tried a few and found that CyberGoverness trusted them all. That made sense, given that they were all selected by librarians. Suddenly he realized that he recognized the background picture. Lily, a friend in his Spanish class, had said one of her drawings won the Anime Art contest in October, and it looked like the library had used it on the site.

He did some more clicking around, looking at stuff about upcoming events in the “@TCCL” section and reading about Food Handler’s Permits under “College & Careers.” He was thinking about applying to Taco Bueno next summer and it sounded like he’d need to get one of those.

“Have you started your homework?” his mom called from the kitchen. Zach sighed and went to get his books from where he’d dropped them. Science and English weren’t a problem this semester, but he felt pretty lost in Trigonometry, and Spanish was just plain kicking his butt.

Glancing back at the computer screen, he saw the section of the Teen Web he hadn’t  tried yet, “Homework Help.” A click brought him to a page full of subsections, from Art and Music to Literature, and on the left was a button for Homework Help Now!

Perfect! He clicked through, logged on with his library card and was amazed. Right in front of him was “Live Help.” Exactly what he needed. He set up the free account and was soon online with a live tutor. His Trig assignment was on sines and cosines, and the two of them worked through a couple of the problems together, using the online whiteboard to draw diagrams. After a while, the angles and measurements started to make a little more sense.

Thanking “BrainfuseTutor158” and shutting down the session, Zach spent a little more time looking around the HelpNow pages. There was a Writing Lab where it looked like he could upload essays and stories he was working on and get suggestions on how to improve. The Language Lab was especially for foreign language classes, and there were tons of other features, like a Test Center where he could take practice tests and quizzes.

At the bottom of the page he spied the “MEET” button. It said he could “Schedule sessions with friends in our private virtual study room.” Maybe Lily would like to work on some Spanish stuff sometime, he thought, grinning again.

Before he knew it, his homework was finished. Closing down the browser windows, he checked the Teen Reviews page one more time. His review had been approved already! He couldn’t wait to tell his friends to check it out.

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