In an attempt to prevent myself from doing nothing for 3 months – other than binge watch Netflix and attend over-priced coffee dates, I decided to volunteer at my local library this summer. I took part in the Summer Reading Challenge Volunteering Programme in 2013 so I was welcomed back by the staff, and was excited to discover that I received not only a badge this time round, but also a Karnival-red t-shirt.
My job consisted of convincing any children between the ages of 4 – 11 to sign up for the challenge of reading 6 books over the summer holiday. Being an English student, encouraging young people to read is something I find particularly rewarding. Once signed up, I helped them to log their progress, review what they had read, as well collect stickers and take part in activities related to the ‘Record Breakers’ theme.
A further aspect of my volunteering involved interacting with the other volunteers as we sometimes carried out tasks together, such as creating displays. Meeting other volunteers from many different walks of life was also interesting and helped to develop my communication skills.
The library also ran several events over the course of the holiday. I volunteered at the ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’, which involved about 30 children coming into the library to take part in Alice in Wonderland themed games, arts and crafts. I enjoyed helping them to create their own ‘mad hats’ and to ‘pin the tail on the Cheshire cat’. A particular highlight for me was when a parent came into the library the day after the event, and told me that her son hadn’t stopped talking about ‘Charlie from the library’.
Another exciting event during my volunteering experience was when the library was presented with a ‘Library of the Year’ award for North Yorkshire. Various governors, special guests and a photographer from the local paper were present and most importantly, it was used as an excuse to have biscuits.
Overall, I’m glad I decided to volunteer at the library this summer as it benefitted my local area and allowed me to aid children in developing their literacy skills, often through encouraging them to read some of the same books that I loved as a child.
Charlie Byrne, Derby Hall Karnival