Springboard, an after school tutoring and homework help center once housed in the Princeton Public Library, has moved. Its new location is room C-104 at the Walnut Lane entrance of John Witherspoon Middle School.
“For the last five years or so, the library has been underwriting the cost of Springboard, but many of those sources have dried up,” said Executive Director Leslie Burger. Springboard usage statistics, she added, were not encouraging. She expressed delight, however, in the fact that the “Princeton Public Schools found a new home for Springboard.”
“The quality program that you have come to expect and rely on will be the same,” Springboard spokeswoman Joyce Turner reported in a letter to the community announcing Springboard’s new location. The free drop-in program, which does not require appointments, will continue every Monday through Thursday from 3:30 to 6 p.m. when the Princeton Public Schools are open.
In the meantime, the library has created other on-site after-school options, including a new tutoring program, for youngsters. These include a chess club, a Mac lab where students work on collaborative projects, and the addition of laptops to the third-floor teen area. All of these activities, said Ms. Burger, are either subsidized by outside funds, and/or staffed by volunteers.
More traditional after-school homework help from adult community volunteers and college level students is also now available at the library from 4 to 6 p.m. every Monday through Thursday when Princeton Public Schools are in session. Students in all grades from all Princeton schools are welcome, and, like Springboard, registration is not required.
In the past, Springboard estimated that it helped between 10 and 35 students per day. In 2000, the American Library Association honored Springboard with an award for excellence in after-school programming for young adults.
“For over 20 years we loved working with the library,” said Ms. Turner. “The collaboration was just wonderful; the library provided books, and Springboard provided instruction.
“It won’t be the same,” Ms. Turner added. “We’ve sent a letter to the youth services staff at the library, telling them how much we’ll miss them.” The new middle school location now being used was felt to provide the “best balance” for students in all grades.
Ms. Turner said that she was grateful for continued support from the F.I.S.H. Foundation, to staff who took a pay cut, and to the school district for offering a space. “We’re not going to let the program die. Many of the kids who come in have special education needs and come from low-income families.”