Governor Newsom announces free online tutoring available to all Californians, $254 million in grants to improve libraries across the state

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A statewide pilot project led by the State Library is providing 24/7 live online tutoring and homework help in each K-12 subject

Grant funding part of California’s largest-ever investment in public libraries

SACRAMENTO – 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 all subjects from K-12 and skill-building resources for adult learners. The Governor also announced $254 million in grants to public libraries in 172 cities in 34 counties to renovate and improve facilities statewide. 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.

Real-time homework help can now be accessible 24/7 here and on the websites of any of the state’s 1,130 local public libraries – click on the “HelpNow” link to contact an individual tutor. The pilot program run by the State Library offers support in math, language arts, and other K-12 core subjects in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Tagalog. There is no age limit for using the service. Adult learners can also access writing help, citizenship resources and other tools.

“With historic investments to give California’s youngest a healthy 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 flourish,” Governor Newsom said. “Public libraries are the heart of communities across the state and our centers of learning, discovery, and often safety. As states across the country ban books, California is providing $254 million in grants to our historic public libraries — an investment to make books more accessible by repairing and modernizing libraries across the state.

The 234 projects in this first 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 claimed the lives of two firefighters, will receive $7.2 million.

“Libraries are centers of community activity – they are a safe haven, an escape into the wonders of reading, a place to find a meal when you need it, to create, to vote, to enrich children, to learn new competence, and so much more,” said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “Strengthening the infrastructure of our libraries – their ability to respond safely and effectively to the needs of the community – is such an important investment for members of the community who depend on it.

First priority for grants was given to communities and projects with the least state resources that address critical living and safety facilities needs, including seismic safety, replacement of heating and air, building safety and improving accessibility of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“There are many reasons why 24 million Californians have library cards. Local libraries are the cornerstones of their communities and essential parts of the California education system,” said Greg Lucas, California State Librarian. “Strengthening public libraries strengthens California and makes it easier for all Californians to get the information and support they need to succeed and prosper.”

Live, real-time homework help from tutors familiar with the curriculum and state standards is available 24 hours a day via laptop, tablet, or phone from tutors familiar with the curriculum and state standards . The State Library is working with the Pacific Library Partnership to make Brainfuse’s “HelpNow” available statewide.

“Not every family can afford a private tutor. Now, through the CA State Library Brainfuse HelpNow program, every Californian can benefit from free online tutoring. HelpNow tutors will help all kindergarten learners develop their thinking and problem-solving skills. Tutors work with students through their assignments and guide them to the correct solution, without giving the answer,” said Jack Rothstein, Director of Library Services at Brainfuse.

A full list of projects to be funded under this series of grants under the Building Forward Library Improvement Grants program is available. here. Questions about grants can be directed to [email protected]

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