Adventures as a Library Volunteer

At the beginning of the year, I began volunteering on Saturday mornings at my local library. Since it is close to home and doesn’t require a large time commitment, I figured that some volunteering was better than no volunteering. Being in graduate school on top of full-time work, library volunteering is both convenient and therapeutic.

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A sneak peak of our “Used Book Store.”

Though library volunteering may not sound exotic, I feel like I get to step into a magical place on the weekends and to actually make a difference. My library has a “Used Book Store” that consists of books donations. My job is to re-stock, alphabetize stacks, and to create displays of books based on inventory and demand. For instance, with back-to-school approaching, I recently created a display of books that was more academic: the history of England. We had many books on this in stock and it seemed great for history lovers!

This fall was busy since there was a parade in town and we held our Annual Book Fair to coincide with that date. Hundreds came into the library to get their hands on used books (all of our inventory from storage had to be pulled for it), and I assisted people in the children’s book section.

The next day, I went back to the library but this time, solely as a buyer. I was told that on the second day, people could fill a grocery bag with books and only pay $5! I decided to fill a bag with kids books for my niece and nephew, a bag for me, and oh wait – it was later declared in the day that “all paperbacks were now free” and everyone could take home a single filled bag of them. Of course, this encouraged me to get even more. In total, I brought home three bags of loot and only paid $10 (since one one bag was free). I think I took home about 30 books! Yes, this is excessive but many will go to family and friends, and the ones that don’t may find themselves donated back to the library.

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Top 10 Things Educators Should Know about Technology

The following is an assignment for a course I am taking called “Emerging Technologies in Libraries,” a library science course I am taking as an elective for my M.A. in English program. 

On the weekends, I spend time volunteering at my local library. Volunteering there makes me feel engaged with the local community, and I like giving back to the institution (I also ran a 5k recently to raise money for the library). What makes my library extraordinary is that they do a lot to integrate themselves into the daily lives of the residents. For instance, they have a diverse range of programs (“Learn to Bellydance” and “Learn the Ukulele,” for instance) and their web catalog is exceptionally easy to use.

Likewise, when educators utilize technology to the best of their advantage, it can be quickly integrated into the daily lives of students. Here are 10 important things educators should know about technology:

  1. It changes the mediums in which we learn. Gone are the days of index card file systems and spending hours in a dusty library. More and more schools are embracing “learning commons” where e-readers and tech devices are embraced, so that books can be accessed anywhere. One school in Chelmsford, MA had a big revamp to make their library digital back in 2008.
  2. It changes how we learn. In an age of obtaining information quickly, having online classroom resources and knowledge on how to use them -including an online library catalogue- is a critical skill for learners.
  3. Blogs, in addition to giving a voice to people all over the world, is a tool that can help students collaborate through commentary and peer review.
  4. Online tools like blogs improve creativity, enforce social interaction, and promote critical and analytical thinking.
  5. Blogs and other e-tools can assist students in creating an online portfolio. By having information stored online, students can track progress throughout the course of time, and reflect on their work.
  6. Students can use online skills to translate to career success. Many times, successful blogs have attracted the attention of preeminent though leaders, and has helped launch careers on the blog’s topic.
  7. Online tools have helped educators stay in touch with parents, so that parents can quickly learn what their children are working on.
  8. Though blogs are known to not always be authoritative, blogs can serve lessons to students on what sources are actually authoritative. Sometimes blogs CAN be as such, based on the background of the writer.
  9. Electronic tools such as blogs can help educators and students connect with other schools, should other institutions have similar web pages.
  10. Having new technology is an overall new opportunity to learn something new! Learning how to adapt will help students in the long run in their careers, as new technology is inevitable during the course of our lives.