Library writing and research project helps middle, high school students

Library writing and research project helps middle, high school students

HOOPESTON — Some Hoopeston and Rossville area students have another place to go for help with their research projects and other writing assignments.

The Hoopeston Public Library recently launched a program to help middle and high school students with them.

The new Teen Study Group is held from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays for ninth- through 12th-graders and from 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays for sixth- through eighth-graders in the teen room at the library, 110 N. Fourth St.

The program was created by Tom Sweeney, who coordinates youth programs for the library.

"The nature of the program is to assist students in their writing projects in a supportive way and expose them to all of the phenomenal resources and materials in the library that are available to them," Sweeney said.

Sweeney is a retired teacher who taught high school English and drama and oversaw a writing lab in the Chicago area for 39 years. He said the program will be staffed by himself and other library staff, "many of whom have been teachers and wordsmiths or love language."

Students can sign up ahead of time for one or more 15-minute help sessions, or they can drop in. All help is free and confidential.

"We have had a positive response from students," Sweeney said, adding the program began after Thanksgiving. He thinks it will pick up in January when Hoopeston eighth-graders will begin research projects. "We will be helping them with things like grammar and punctuation and proofreading. We also hope to show them that writing can be fun."

Hoopeston Area Middle School Principal Anne Burton said she was excited to learn of the program.

"We already have a before- and after-school program, called HELP (Hoopeston Educational Learning Program), where students can read, get help with their homework and build relationships with teachers. This is just going to help our kids be more successful, and it's going to strengthen the district's partnership with the community library."

Burton said many students use the library to read Accelerated Reader books or attend summer reading programs. "They know they're welcome there, and it's a very positive environment for them to be in."

Linda Mitchell, the library's director, said she hopes the program draws even more students.

"We're hoping to introduce them to the library at a young age, so they'll become familiar with it and be lifelong library users," she said.

Sweeney added that students also may be able to offer suggestions for youth programs or how to make it more accessible to people their age.

For more information or to sign up for a tutoring time slot, call 283-6711.

This story appeared in print on Dec. 11.

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