Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…

{March 4, 2011}   little men…

My little boys came back the other day, they were part of the posse of 6 boys whose mom had been homeless and they needed to do service work…go back a couple posts to refresh if you need to.

Remember how they wore out my office mate and I with their giggling and rustling? How they dismantled my rock-em, sock-em robots, wind up toys and marble racer? How they selected their favorite foods from my all year food bin outside my office and left like a tornado? Yep, that was them and they came back…

But this time completely different. They were excited that I had fixed the robots, that my office was back in good shape, and that they were needed to help mommy “pay the rent”.They were happy to see me and remembered that I had made a point to shake their hands when I met each one of them. They rushed up to me this time to shake my hand again.

The task that the family was doing was simple. Get valid library cards for those in the family that didn’t have them. Pay off fines or work through a payment plan for those that had fines, utilize the library as a friend and resource, read as a family, promote literacy and promote the library.

Some skeptics may think…what? That’s a volunteer task? Are you kidding? I’m not. Some of the most simple things in life, things that some take for granted such as a library card, reading, or stepping foot into a library are things that aren’t considered in many corners of our community.You would be surprised of all the people that have never stepped into their local library.

It’s intimidating. Only smart people come here. They don’t read well or like to read. They don’t know how to use the computer.They don’t know where to go. They don’t like to ask questions because they’re afraid of what people may think of them… I get a lot of that when they come in to meet me…

Some may think I’m too soft. Too social service minded. Too easy….but why not go easy sometimes? People are homeless and living out of their cars, no jobs, no medical care, no resources…life is hard, why add to it?

As the boys played quietly on my floor with the magnet sticks and balls making pyramids and hexagons, their mom had told me that in the past few weeks they have changed. They read as a family, they laugh at the pictures in books, the boys are more patient and love selecting their books. The 5-year-old likes to say that he’s reading to “help pay the rent”….

…I told her that’s fine to say that….because eventually he’ll be reading “for an education” or he’ll be reading “for pleasure”….

It was time for them to leave so they picked up the toys, put on their coats and lined up to shake my hand good-bye…

Sometimes the simplest things are the most successful…


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