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Last year, I read Melody Warnick’s This is Where You Belong, which is a great book about becoming more attached to where you live. Volunteerism is an excellent way to become more “rooted,” but it can be challenging to find the right opportunity. The author suggests asking yourself, “What would I really miss if it went away?” and then going to help that place out!
In my spare time, my favorite thing to do is read, and I love the Kennett Library. I only buy books if I like them enough to re-read or lend, and the library gives me a huge catalog of reading selections without having to commit to a purchase. I’ve also really loved the programs I’ve attended there, especially a talk with food writers and a molecular gastronomy demo! I would be really sad if the library ever went away, so I started volunteering in February as a shelver.
Linda Herrera is the Volunteer Coordinator at the Kennett Library, and she is emphatic that “volunteers have a huge impact!” She told me that everyone can be a great library volunteer. It’s a nice option for students looking for community service hours, as well as retired folks with hours available during the day. “We also have two volunteers with special needs,” she added, “so we truly welcome anyone who is willing.”
The biggest volunteer need right now is with the Adult Literacy Program, which has served students who are learning English as a second language for almost 40 years! Some of those students have gone on to become business owners in the community, and volunteering in the ALP is a wonderful investment in people and our town. To learn more and express your interest in volunteering in any capacity, visit the volunteer information page at the Kennett Library website.
Every Wednesday, I come in for an hour or two to shelve materials that have been returned to the Kennett Library. This task relieves the staff during the busy after-school hours and keeps the returns from piling up. For fun, I always try to wear a bookish t-shirt, and that’s often a conversation-starter with the patrons. I get a lot of satisfaction out of organizing and lining everything up. It’s fascinating to handle books I’ve never seen before and see my favorites with affectionate recognition. The whole process is very calming and therapeutic! It’s also fun to chat with the librarians about our shared love of reading, and I always end up with more books on my to-be-read list.
While I alphabetize and put things back in their spots, I really enjoy seeing that my efforts free up the library staff to focus on serving patrons and running programs. I’m always so impressed at how inventive and fun the programming is, ranging from kids reading aloud to a therapy dog, a graphic novel book club for middle schoolers, or board games and tea for adults!
I talked with Alex Caliva, Program Coordinator, and he said that programming complements typical literacy initiatives to benefit the community. “We will always be dedicated to providing free access to the written word,” he explained, “but we can also help by offering something fun and worthwhile to do on a Friday night with just as much value to very different people across gaps of culture, income, interests, and whatever else might divide them outside these walls.”
Alex highlighted 3 exciting programs this fall:
- Kids: Yoga Story Time – Little readers can enjoy folktales from around the world while trying different yoga poses (10am on certain Wednesdays)
- Teens: Book VS Movie – In this collaboration with the Garage Community & Youth Center, students in grades 4-12 can join monthly screenings of a film adaptation of a popular book, then stick around to discuss its success and failures; the first installment will be The Hunger Games at 4pm on September 28
- Adults: Poetry Club – This club will meet on the last Wednesday of the month at 6pm (starting on September 27) to explore works by major poets, do close readings of great poems, share their own work, and host events related to poetry – such as poetry readings, writing workshops, poetry slams, screen poetry events and readings
To keep up on all of the great programming going on at the library, be sure to subscribe to the weekly newsletter by visiting the library website and clicking the “Sign Up for Email Update” button toward the bottom of the page.
Thank you to all of the staff for helping make the Kennett Library such a valuable asset in our community!