Expert on Staff: Help for Students with Free Virtual Tutoring

When our library buildings had to close to the public and move library programming online, Tyler Compton of the CALS Terry Library was ready to serve however she could. How could she use virtual platforms to give people in our community the most meaningful assistance?

The answer was clear because Compton has a unique skill set to draw on. As a recent middle-school English teacher who is still certified, she has the experience and training to work with students in productive and positive ways. Compton knew that all our area students were now studying at home, working on assignments without daily classroom interaction. Some were bound to need more help.

“I’ve always been happy to help people out with schoolwork where I can, so it felt like a natural fit,” Compton said. “I have many fond memories of my mother editing papers for me growing up, so I came by it honestly!”

Helping while school buildings are closed

Compton found that the century-old relationship of CALS with our community was a help in getting the word out. “The library has such a wide reach that it reaches far more people than I could have even imagined,” she said. “I grew up in a very small town with one small (but wonderful!) library, so even after a little over a year at CALS, I’m still impressed by how extensively ingrained the system is in the community.”

Initially, Compton set her tutoring “office hours” from 1 p.m to 3 p.m. on weekdays. That way, she would be available to work with students live through virtual chat as they went over the document on the internet in Google Docs. But a great deal of the tutoring process could also continue at any time through suggestions and reactions in the document itself, which freed both student and tutor to work at the most convenient times.

“I still have the official office hours,” Compton said, “but I’m actively working on tutoring throughout the day, not just during that window. I respond to emails as quickly as I can.”

“In the middle of this pandemic it’s just important to help however and wherever you can. . .”

Compton takes pleasure in knowing her work is helping those who need it during this tough time for students and families. “Particularly for parents who are trying to juggle multiple students and their own work-from home-transition, I’m happy to have been able to step in and relieve even the tiniest bit of that pressure by giving them one less thing to stress about,” she said.

Students relieved by academic support

The students themselves have also expressed gratitude to Compton for her expert assistance.

“Students have commented that it’s just nice to have someone so readily available to help them when they are stressing or when they’ve procrastinated a little (because who doesn’t?) and they need more immediate help,” Compton said. “ I don’t have any kids of my own,  and CALS has been very accommodating during this transition, so I’m happy that I’ve been able to be “on call” in a sense for some of these folks who are having far more hectic experiences.”

Compton reflected on her service with the spirit that has made public libraries so loved across the nation: “I think in the middle of this pandemic it’s just important to help however and wherever you can. We all have vastly different skills, and these are the moments where we have to call on each other to fill the gaps that come up when large parts of society have to shut down.”

For more information on tutoring availability, contact

Feature by Rosslyn Elliott