Bernice Potter considers the Homework Help Center at her neighborhood library an essential part of her family's life.

Bernice Potter considers the Homework Help Center at her neighborhood library an essential part of her family's life.

Her sons, 9-year-old Auriyon and 8-year-old Tavarus, attend Buckeye Preparatory Academy, located about a block from the Driving Park branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library. The library is also a few blocks' walk from their home.

"They go there straight from school and I pick them up later," Potter said, who works nearby for Dish Network. "I like the fact there are multiple people helping. They'll actually check the backpacks to see if there's homework in there."

Homework help centers are a feature in many local libraries, though primarily in more urban or walkable communities now. A number of suburban libraries either have never offered these after-school, weekday sessions or they have ended them. At Delaware County District Library's Orange branch, the staff offered homework help last school year, but low participation and problems finding volunteers prompted them to cancel the program this year.

Orange branch manager Julie Standish explained: "We're in the Olentangy (Schools) district and they offer a lot of after-school help (plus) we just don't have a foot-traffic library. Kids can't walk here from school."

The Sunbury Public Library, also in Delaware County, took the unusual step two years ago of taking an after-school program to the Big Walnut elementary schools. After School Adventure is a six-week program that focuses on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) topics.

"We surveyed teachers and parents and found there wasn't demand for a help center at the library," said Sunbury's director Chauncey Montgomery. "We have a lot of commuters in our district and for them to get home and get their kids to the library was difficult."

All 22 locations in the Columbus Metropolitan Library system operate Homework Help Centers. It's an integral part of the system's mission, said CML spokesman Ben Zenitsky.

"We're in the business of out-of-school learning," Zenitsky said. "Our Homework Help Centers are critical to that mission as we work to provide students with welcoming spaces to study and learn."

During the 2014-15 school year, Zenitsky added, the CML system's Homework Help Centers logged about 87,000 visits.

Here is a list of library systems in the area that offer homework help during after-school hours:

Bexley Public Library (2411 E. Main St., Bexley 43209; 614-231-2793; bexleylibrary.org) The Homework Zone is open 3:30-5:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays during the school year.

Columbus Metropolitan Library (22 locations; 614-645-2275; columbuslibrary.org) Each branch opens its center to coincide with the start of that district's school year and their hours depend on when their local school lets out. Some locations offer bilingual services. For information about each branch's center, go to columbuslibrary.org/hhc.

Pickerington Public Library (201 Opportunity Way, Pickerington 43147; 614-837-4104, ext. 221; pickeringtonlibrary.org) This school year's schedule is still under construction, but should be similar to last year's: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6:30-7:30 pm.

Westerville Public Library (126 S. State St., Westerville 43081; 614-882-7277; westervillelibrary.org) Opens Monday, Aug. 17 this year. Offered from 5 to 8 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays. For more info, go to westervillelibrary.org/homework.

Worthington Libraries (3 locations; 614-807-2626; worthingtonlibraries.org) Operates Mondays through Thursdays, 3:30-6:30 p.m. at the Worthington Park and Northwest branches and 3-6 p.m. at the Old Worthington branch. For the most current information, go to worthingtonlibraries.org/visit/services/homework-help.

Several library systems, while not offering homework help centers, do offer other forms of help (apart from the reference services available at all libraries):

Delaware County District Library (4 locations; 740-362-3861; delawarelibrary.org) Offers a Reading Buddies program during the school year and summer, which pairs young readers with volunteers to practice their reading skills.

Grandview Heights Public Library (614-486-2951; ghpl.org) Online homework help is available from 3 to 11 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and is accessed via the library's website with a Grandview Heights Public Library card number.

Upper Arlington Public Library (3 locations; ualibrary.org) During their regular hours of operation (1-5 p.m. Sundays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays), you can text a research question to UA's referencelibrarians, by texting: UAPLREFfollowed by your question to66746.

Finally, the State Library of Ohio offers KnowItNow, a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week online chat service staffed by Ohio librarians that will help anyone with research and homework questions. It is available at knowitnow.org. You also can text a question to them at 216-539-4546.