How Your Local Library Can Make You a Better Tutor

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How Your Local Library Can Make You a Better Tutor

Walk into a library on any given afternoon and you are likely to find at least one tutor hard at work with a student. Good tutors are no strangers to the library. However, great tutors know the library is more than just a venue for study sessions.

Unlock all that your local library has to offer by following these simple tips.

Take advantage of the catalog

It’s amazing all the different experiences and services local libraries offer. In many locales, you can gain access to a plethora of events, classes, technology, and media with nothing more than a valid library card.

With all the offerings of modern libraries, it can be easy to forget about their bread and butter: books! Inside the stacks are plenty of resources that can help improve your tutoring practice.

Most libraries keep a decent catalog of up-to-date test prep books and materials. These books typically offer a lot more information than the limited practice test options made available online by the test makers. Spending some time with the latest editions of these materials at the library can save you from making new (and expensive) purchases each year as you try to stay abreast of the latest changes.

For English Language Arts (ELA) tutors, the library can also provide a way to get a leg up on your competition. Most circulation desks have access to the reading lists of the local schools. A quick conversation with a librarian can give you the inside track on what titles your potential clients may need support with during the summer break and throughout the school year.

Do what you can to keep up with these reading materials. If time is an issue, many libraries offer e-book and audio book download services that can help you fit in some reading time on the go.

Guide your own self-improvement

Tutors are educators. As such, the best practices that make educators effective in the classroom can also make for better educational support professionals. The best tutors are as committed to their own growth as they are the growth of their students. Staying on top of the latest practices in education is a crucial way to foster that professional growth.

However, if you think test prep books are expensive, take a look at the required reading for college education courses! The most popular pedagogy books are typically as pricey as they are large. Older editions can be found online at deep discounts, but why buy what you can borrow from the local library? Furthermore, some libraries even have access to the latest education trade periodicals (in either print or digital collections) that you won’t find on your local newsstand.

It is worth considering that tutors looking for some fresh educational theory and techniques may not need every word in these pricy books and journals; a library card can give access to a wide variety and, at the same time, remove the risk that a selection may or may not be worth a costly personal investment.

Marketing opportunities

Besides an abundance of content and materials, libraries offer tutors other opportunities to improve their businesses.

For one thing, many libraries offer community bulletin boards that patrons can consult and post information about events and services. For tutors, this can be an inexpensive, yet effective way to promote your business in the local area.

Be sure any material you post is professional, clear, and informative so that potential clients are drawn in to consider the relevant services you are offering. Taking a look at any postings made by your competitors could provide some useful information as well!

Beyond advertising, getting involved in library-sponsored activities is a great way to boost your visibility in the community you serve. Be on the lookout for any events related to education or local businesses that you could attend as a participant. If you see a need for an event or session that isn’t offered, it never hurts to propose and conduct one of your own! Not only will these types activities help get you more engaged with (and recognized by) the local population, but you will likely learn a thing or two that could help take your business to the next level.

The public library can be a crucial piece in strengthening your tutoring business and your content-area expertise. Why not break out your library card and see what your local branch has to offer?

How have you used the library to support your tutoring efforts? Share your experiences and insights with our readers in the comments below and on social media!


About Sheldon S

Sheldon Soper is a ten year veteran of the teaching profession and currently serves as a junior high school teacher in southern New Jersey. His primary focus is building reading, writing, and research skills in his students. He holds two degrees from Rutgers University: a B.A. in History as well as a M.Ed. in Elementary Education. He holds teaching certifications in English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Elementary Education. Sheldon has also worked as a tutor for grades ranging from second through high school in a wide variety of subjects including reading, writing, calculus, chemistry, algebra, and test prep. In addition to his teaching career, Sheldon is also a content writer for a variety of education, technology, and parenting websites.

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