A parent’s guide to last minute student assignments

By Jimmie Epling
Darlington County Library System

What do you do when your young scholar casually remarks about supper time, on Sunday afternoon, or just before practice, ”I just remembered, I have a report due tomorrow in…”? Once the initial shock and momentary exasperation subsides, where do you turn for help? Sure, you could turn to Google and Wikipedia. But, can you trust everything you find there? The Darlington County Library System can help you and your young padawan channel the force to, as Yoda would say, “Do. Or do not. There is no try,” complete that last minute assignment.

Here at the Library we know many students wait until the last minute before announcing the need to complete an assignment by tomorrow. How do we know this? It is by the number of parents and caregivers who call us, visit our website, or drop by the Library looking for help. It is not uncommon to hear a remark like, “They knew a week ago their assignment was due tomorrow, and I only found out about it today.” When my son was in school, I learned that time is relative. For a teen, a week can seem a long way off and a month is almost an eternity. But for you, it is another challenge in a day filled with too much to do and not enough time. So what will you do? Here are a few tips!

  1. First, take a deep breath and relax. You and your young scholar will get through this together! The friendly library staff will guide you. (Others have been down this same path before.)
  2. Next, learn all you can about the assignment. Use your best interrogation skills to probe for answers to questions that are vital to the success of your joint mission:
    name of class; topic; length of report; limit of sources – print? Internet? The more information you have, the easier your search will be.
  3. Once you know what you need, start your quest for information at the Library. Instead of the encyclopedia you used, today the Library will assist you with information available online and in print at any of our four locations, Darlington, Hartsville, Lamar, and Society Hill.
  4. Hours to search: Visit the Library to look through encyclopedias, almanacs, gazetteers, biographies, and borrow books loaded with information. Our hours are set to be as convenient as possible for you. Our Darlington and Hartsville locations are open until 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with Lamar and Society Hill open until 7 p.m. All four are open Saturdays 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. If that young scholar suddenly remembers an assignment while you are at church on Sunday, do not despair. The Darlington and Hartsville locations are open from 2 to 5 p.m. The staff will be happy to help you find what you need!
  5. Can’t make it to the Library during our regular hours? No problem, you now have access 24/7 to the Library’s Digital Branch by going to www.darlington-lib.org. Start your research on the Library’s homepage by going to “Research Resources” for a variety of excellent information and reference databases. The Library’s databases are provided by DISCUS, South Carolina’s Virtual Library. This free online information service gives access to an online library of thousands of databases, reference resources, newspapers, magazines, and books. Look through CultureGrams and Britannica’s World Data Analysis; Points of View Reference Center; Biography in Context – which has over a half million biographical entries.
  6. Once you have helped your young scholar collect the information needed to write the report, organize it into related chunks. Arrange the chunks of information into an order that makes sense. Then start connecting the chunks with their own words.

Just remember, if you suddenly discover your young padawan has failed to remember an assignment until the last minute, do not fret. Visit one of our four locations in Darlington, Hartsville, Lamar, or Society Hill, and the staff will be happy to help you. Do not worry, if ever we are closed, our online Digital Brach is open 24/7 at www.darlington-lib.org has a wealth of information available for you. The Darlington County Library System is committed to easing your stress by helping you deal with those last minute reports!


Author: Jana Pye

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