SACRAMENTO – California Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that every Californian can now access free online tutoring available 24/7 through a new initiative offering homework help in every K-12 subject and skill-building resources for adult learners.
Newsom also announced $254 million in grants to public libraries in 172 cities across 34 counties to renovate and improve facilities across the state. This is the first round of the California State Library’s $439 million Building Forward Library Improvement Grant Program, the largest investment in public library infrastructure in California history.
The Los Angeles County libraries in Castaic and Stevenson Ranch will each receive $36,000 in grant funding.
Real-time homework assistance can now be accessed 24/7 here and on the websites of any of the 1,130 local public libraries around the state, click on the “HelpNow” link to reach a one-on-one tutor. The pilot program led by the State Library offers assistance in math, language arts, and other core K-12 subjects in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Tagalog. There’s no age limit to who can use the service. Adult learners can also access writing assistance, citizenship resources and other tools.
“With historic investments to give the youngest Californians a strong start in life, enrich our schools and expand supports like tutoring, we’re building on our commitment to create more opportunities for every child in our state to thrive, ”said Governor Newsom. “Public libraries are the hearts of communities across the state and our hubs of learning, discovery, and oftentimes – safety. While states across the nation are banning books, California is awarding $254 million in grants for our historic public libraries – an investment to make books more accessible by repairing and modernizing libraries throughout the state.”
The 234 projects in this initial round of funding under the Building Forward Library Improvement Grant Program range from $14,300 to $10 million and include efforts to make libraries safer and more accessible, including their ability to be cooling centers for underserved communities. The City of Porterville, whose only library was destroyed in a 2020 fire that took the lives of two firefighters, will receive $7.2 million.
“Libraries are hubs of community activity – they are a safe haven, an escape into the wonders of reading, a place to find a meal when you need one, to create, to vote, to enrich children, to learn a new skill, and so much more,” said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “Strengthening our libraries’ infrastructure – their ability to safely and effectively meet the needs of the community – is such a critical investment in the community members who rely on them.”
First priority for grants was given to the state’s least-resourced communities and projects that address long-delayed critical life and safety facility needs including seismic safety, heating and air system replacement, building security, and improved Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility.
“There are lots of reasons 24 million Californians have library cards. Local libraries are cornerstones of their communities and critical parts of California’s education system,” said Greg Lucas, California State Librarian. “Strengthening public libraries strengthens California and helps make it easier for all Californians to get the information and assistance they need to succeed and thrive.”
Live, real-time homework assistance from tutors familiar with state curriculum and standards is available 24 hours a day by laptop, tablet, or phone from tutors familiar with state curriculum and standards. The State Library is working with the Pacific Library partnership to make “HelpNow” by Brainfuse available throughout the state.
“Not every family can afford a private tutor. Now through the CA State Library Brainfuse HelpNow program, every Californian can get free online tutoring. HelpNow tutors will assist all learners from Kindergartners on up build thinking and problem-solving skills. Tutors work with students through their homework challenges, and guide them to the right solution, without giving the answer,” said Jack Rothstein, Brainfuse Library Services Director.
A full list of projects to be funded in this round of grants under the Building Forward Library Improvement Grant Program can be found here.
Information about the second round of grant funding and the grant application will be announced here when information is available.