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Students can get free help with their schoolwork

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — With school homework about to start up, the state is reminding students that free help with homework, tests and essays is available from any computer with Internet access.

The state-sponsored tutor program has been available since spring and has already proven popular and helpful, state Librarian Kathleen Moeller-Peiffer said.

“It really is getting thousands and thousands of hits,” she said with Gov. Susana Martinez at a news conference Monday at the Taylor Ranch Library.

The Brainfuse tutoring program is run primarily through the state’s libraries, but it can be accessed through any computer as long as the user has access to a library card.

It allows any student to chat electronically with a live tutor between 2 and 11 p.m. each weekday. It offers a variety of games, flashcard generators and activities for grades K through 12 in many subject areas. And it also offers résumé editing and job interview preparation advice.

“Parents can use it as well” to help their children with their homework, Martinez said, noting the website is also available in Spanish and can connect students and parents to tutors who speak Spanish.

Martinez also asked that the Brainfuse team look into contracting with tutors who speak indigenous languages.

“When we collaborate, we end up with some great students,” Martinez said.

The program is in the middle of a one-year, $120,000 contract. If the state renews the contract, which is expected, Brainfuse would increase the price by $5,000 in years three, four and five, said state Department of Cultural Affairs spokeswoman Mary Ann Hatchitt.

Cynthia Shetter, a librarian in Los Lunas, said the program has this summer allowed her library staff to connect students to services the staff couldn’t have helped with, like difficult math, and it has helped more students access information than her colleagues could have reached on their own.

“It extends my staff,” she said.

Martinez, the librarians and Cultural Affairs Secretary Veronica Gonzales also announced Monday an increase in the number of family passes for state museums and historical sites that will be made available for check-out at all libraries and book mobiles in the state.

The family passes allow six people free access to sites and museums around the state. Libraries have reported waiting lists for the passes of more than 70 people, prompting the increase in the number being made available.