From participating in the annual March for Life to tutoring younger students in their spare time, MODG students are known for their willingness to serve. One form of service that many of our students participate in is volunteer work at their local libraries. Here, they are able to take a love of reading and share it with others.
“I loved being able to talk to people and give them book recommendations,” says Kaki Williams, (MODG ‘20). “I’m a fiction person - historical fiction has my heart right now.”
In addition to being a way to participate in their community, many of our students have found that library work provides benefits beyond the job itself.
“When I signed up, I expected to be mostly shelving books, honestly,” shares Cecilia Alvarez (MODG ‘20). “I was very shy when I was younger, and I hated the thought of interacting with strangers. Once I started doing it, though, I was surprised to find that I grew to enjoy it. After my four years of volunteering there on a regular basis, I had turned completely around and become a fairly outgoing person.”
Alvarez also explains that her library volunteer experience was a great place to exercise leadership and problem-solving skills. “At my library, they gave us opportunities to come up with programs for the community, so not only can you help the community, but you can leave your own stamp on it.”
Ben Fantauzzo (MODG ‘20) concurs that leadership was a skill he was able to work on while volunteering at his library. In fact, his initiative in his department led to his winning the library’s Senior Page Award, an award granted to a staff member who goes above and beyond.
“I went about every little aspect of my work thinking, how can I do more than just the basics?” says Fantauzzo. “How can I put passion and effort into this, and go the extra mile? I’d find the littlest tears in a page, or the smallest labelling errors, and go get them fixed. That became what I was known for.”
Not only is the library a place to practice fundamental leadership skills, but our students have also been able to form strong friendships as well. Fantauzzo shares that many of his coworkers have become his normal group of friends, even though they are in college now.
Williams talks about the benefits of forming bonds with people in the community in general. “We knew everyone because I would go in at the same time every week, and there would always be the same people there,” she says. “It’s very fulfilling and you get to meet a lot of cool people.”
Not everyone desires to be a librarian or work with books, but the valuable experiences gained through library volunteer work extend to many areas of life, and our graduates who have worked at the library heartily recommend it.
“Whatever you plan on doing,” says Alvarez, “interacting with different people of a variety of ages, in a variety of settings, will help you grow and push you out of your comfort zone.”
(Photo Credit: Ellie Yanoschik)