In an effort to get recent library experience to put on my resume (and because it’s fun!!), I’ve started doing a lot of volunteering with different libraries and organizations. My goal is to do a bunch of different things and make a bunch of connections and help a bunch of kids (obviously). Towards the end of October, I started with three different volunteering opportunities all in the same week, which was … a bit overwhelming when added onto working nearly full time and trying to get through classes.
Back in June or July, I signed up for Books for Wider Horizons with the Oakland Public Library. It’s a program that matches me with a preschool center in Oakland for a half hour storytime once a week. It’s a bit of a trek for me, but this opportunity is actually 100% why I got into Library Sciences in the first place: puppets, stories, songs and fingerplays. We had to go through a pretty intensive training before getting matched with a preschool center (I just got my match and time!). We learned a ton of new songs and fingerplays and flannel boards and SO MUCH FUN. Today, (MY BIRTHDAY!!!) I’m going to use my day off work to go down to the BWH office, make some copies, and get ready for my first storytime. Which I still don’t know when it will be; I’m a little terrified to schedule the first reading, because I feel quite unprepared.
As part of this new storytime adventure, I am not only investing in puppets (I basically want all of their puppets), I am also teaching myself how to play the ukulele! Feller bought me one for my birthday (TODAY!!!) that came early. Currently, I can almost, sort of play Lil’ Liza Jane. I’m not sure that my singing can actually be heard over the ukulele, and I’m struggling with the different rhythms of voice vs ukulele. I don’t know if you know this, but I’m not actually very coordinated, and I struggle with different body parts doing different things. Anyways, hopefully, I’ll be a Preschool Rockstar Ukulele Champion in the next couple of months! Which thankfully, isn’t the same as an Adult Rockstar Ukulele Champion, which would involve a lot more effort and ukulele learnings.
I have also been volunteering with Reading Partners, tutoring a 5th grader in her reading skills. It’s been a really fun experience, and hopefully, my kid will be much better at reading by the time I’m done with her. I’ve enjoyed spending one on one time with a kid, getting to know her and figuring out how to talk to her. Because talking to kids is very different from talking to adults, isn’t it?
Similarly, I’ve volunteered at the local library a couple of hours a week doing Homework Help. Generally, the kids I’ve worked with are 3rd-5th graders who need assistance with whatever homework they have from school. The month or so I’ve been volunteering, it’s been mostly reading homework, but I’ve also helped with math. I feel like Reading Partners and Homework Help support each other and make me a better volunteer in each arena. I get a bit more formal tutoring experience with Reading Partners and more experience with a wider variety of kids with Homework Help.
Eventually, I think I’m also going to start doing assorted volunteer jobs at a couple different libraries, just helping out wherever I’m needed, maybe even eventually offering to do book talks at nearby schools (if that’s a thing they do). I have about a year before I graduate, and I want as diverse a library experience as I can get. I’ve thought about doing an internship, but I think a wide assortment of volunteer work will probably accomplish the same basic goals.