Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…











My office mate who teaches our ESL and Community Education classes had to leave the office and cross 2 times zones because of a family death.  She had already had a graduation/holiday party planned for the members of her classes. Our supervisor and I gladly stepped in to lay the party out, pass out the certificates and chat up with the guests and of course,  eat pizza.

We didn’t really expect a big turn out, mostly because my office mate is the star of the show. Truly loved by the 40 languages of students that she represents, she’s an excellent instructor and all around good person. As her students began to roll in, you can immediately sense disappointment in having Sonya not there.

After a few pleasantries, conversation was already beginning to become a little stale. In any language, you can  never go wrong when you bring up the topic of food. That rejuvenated all discussion. We sipped on rice punch from Korea, nibbled Mexican macaroons, ate pizza (onions and cheese?), and had good ole American Mesquite BBQ chips.

One of the students brought her two small children. As we were discussing the politics of Putin in Russia on our end of the table with a student from the Ukraine,  we heard the words Capris Sun Juice Boxes at the other end. A hush fell upon the guests. Suddenly, discussions began to flare up, words and sentences mixed in English and the native tongues were a buzz with the words “straws”, “wrappers”, “all over the house”, and  “boxes and boxes of Capris Sun”.

It was if we were holding the first ever ” Capris Sun Summit” right there in the library center meeting room. With the passion that these moms of the nations had over Capris Sun Juice Boxes and Pouches, imagine what could be accomplished across the world?!

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{November 25, 2009}   Literacy and ESL Volunteers

I manage the volunteers out of the Library Outreach Department. As part of the library outreach into our community, we have Literacy, Programming, Mobile Outreach, Story Telling, Technology Classes and Volunteers. My office is in our Literacy Suite so I have close connection to our Literacy Manager. She does her own thing with her volunteers, but I try and match and connect them to her when I can. A main focus is ESL classes, but recently, she’s been coordinating with our Community Correction Facility with Adult Literacy and one on one tutoring.

Talk about AMAZING! Talk about CHANGING LIVES!  The volunteers that work through her area are increasing and enhancing English skills as well as Reading skills. She also has volunteers who work through Intercambio, a virtual volunteer experience that develops and supports English skills through social networking.

Library volunteering is not just about putting books away my friends. It’s getting out there and making a difference!

Its coming in to the library and working with ESL students with day to day  conversation, helping someone fill out an application, study for a drivers exam and so much more! It’s good stuff! Feel good stuff!



et cetera
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