Name: Brooklyn Boatright
From: Muncie, Indiana
Grade: College Junior
School: Ball State University
Library Can Take You Anywhere in the World
I chose to volunteer in a library program that works with teens and other people my age. The reason for my choice reflected my love of books, teens, and sharing knowledge. I volunteered for 4 years with about 30 hours per year and I loved every minute of it. The group I volunteered with wrote reviews for galleys, talked with teens that visited the YA department of the library, and organized all events focused on teens including the summer reading program every year. My biggest challenge was probably finding the time to come in and volunteer; I was participating in so many other activities that I eventually had to choose which ones I wanted to continue doing. By far, the most satisfaction I’ve had as a volunteer was giving someone a book that I knew they would love. Spreading the love of
reading and knowledge is so rewarding; oftentimes, teens would come back to the library and talk to me about whatever novel they’d read and what they’d learned. I’ve learned some difficult lessons through volunteering. Lots of different kids come through a library
and you get to meet a lot that are in troubling positions when you work in a big city library. I learned that empathy only goes so far.
You can’t help everyone, no matter how much you give to them sometimes. Advice, a shoulder to lean on, and a helping hand go a
long way, but if they refuse your help, there’s nothing you can do.
From this volunteer experience, I actually learned that I would rather have a career in science and keep the library work on the side. It helped me realize my dreams and goals in life. I’m now studying meteorology at school and I’ve never been happier in life. To me, forward looking means being able to see a problem in the present and change it to create a better future. Every day, I was looking forward in the library to help young teens and to educate children. The change I seek to make in the world through my volunteer activities is a better appreciation for books and reading among inner city kids who probably only see books in school or at the library. I can’t say whether my volunteer experience has made a difference; I can only hope that it has. Some of the kids we see in a day, we never see again. You have to hope that you made a big enough impact on them that it will change their lives for the better. That’s what we’re
there to do.