A group of teens spent their summer volunteering at the Southwest Branch Library. Now Emily tells us what she really thought about her volunteer experience assisting with programs, planning a program for other teens, and helping out their librarians!
I think this is a great program and that it gave me new experiences and taught me a few things about people and community. Whenever we held a program, I would think at the end of it that a lot of the people I was volunteering with and a lot of the people who came to the program were people that I wouldn’t expect, just by looking at them, to be the kind of people I would socialize with. I admit to it, a lot of the people who come to the programs at the library would be people I would not choose to say hello to in a setting like school. But the programs at the library showed me that if you just talk to people and reach out to someone you normally wouldn’t, they will surprise you, and you will find that the way they look has nothing to do with who they are.
Of course, I am not a horrible person and this philosophy is not new to me, but I have never had many real life experiences with talking to different people, so this program gave me an opportunity to go outside my comfort zone and practice what I believe in, which is not judging people by the way they look. This program also benefits people in the community by, as you mentioned, bringing together mixed demographics and giving all types of people access to the library and it’s resources.
To me this experience has been an eye opener in a way; volunteering at the library-sounds boring right? No, quite the opposite. It gives volunteers an opportunity to reach outside of themselves to people of all different backgrounds; everyone comes to the library, so a volunteer will be with people who are completely different from them and will learn about the complexity and richness that comes with the expansion of cultural knowledge.
Emily, Teen Blogger, Southwest Branch