By Lucy Hernandez
Hollywood Library summer reading volunteer and Hollywood Teen Council member
Why do I, a teenager in the 21st century, with Instagram and Twitter, choose to spend time during the summer at the library? It’s simple — I enjoy volunteering, especially during the Summer Reading program. It feels so good when other people feel accomplished, especially when it comes to reading. Many kids feel unmotivated or too distracted to read over the summer, but with Summer Reading, we can help kids bust boredom by encouraging them to read and visit their local library. I’ve been doing Summer Reading since before I can remember, and what I remember most fondly is the volunteers. They were all so friendly and enthusiastic. So when I reached the age at which I could become a volunteer, I jumped at the opportunity.
Now, the process for new volunteers is sorta tricky. The first step is to fill out a Summer Reading volunteer application (available April 1) at multcolib.org/volunteer. The best way get it in is to fill it out online. Be sure to fill out everything on it so it is accepted. Then within a week or so, you will find out whether you are accepted into the program. Some libraries, like Hollywood, fill up really fast, so get your application turned in quickly.
Volunteering is also good because it gives you something to do on days when you might otherwise not be doing anything. Plus, it’s a good excuse to get in some extra reading time when things are slow. If I were to recommend a good slot to vie for, it would be in the afternoons. That’s when most young children are up from naps, or home from day care/camp, and are more likely to come to the library.
Tips for new volunteers: Most times, very young children will pull books and toys off the shelves. What you have to do in those situations is make sure the child is not hurting him/herself or anyone else, and clean up once the child and his/her parent leaves. Also, expect questions. Most questions about the Summer Reading program you should be able to answer. But don’t be afraid to ask the librarian on duty. If you’ve been doubled up with another volunteer, you can ask that volunteer for help, too.
Volunteering for something like this is well worth the two hours a week, because when a child comes up to you with a big smile on his or her face, waiting to claim a prize for all the reading he or she has done, it feels wonderful.
Summer Reading begins June 12. Volunteer applications are available April 1; applying to be a volunteer is open to anyone entering the sixth grade or above. Summer Reading is made possible by The Library Foundation.