Seventeen year old Saagar's volunteering journey began when he needed some volunteer experience to complete his Duke of Edinburgh Award. He has been a library user all his life and had seen and participated in activities that the library offered. He therefore viewed the library as a place that could offer him exactly the volunteering experience he was looking for.
"I was attracted by the idea of working in an environment in which I could gain multiple skills, interact with the public and share some of my interest in computers."
The library volunteer experience
During his time as a volunteer, Saagar got involved with the wealth and depth of activity the library has to offer. As well as tasks that are part of the day to day routine in libraries such as shelving books and using the library system, he helped with the Summer Reading Challenge, homework clubs, one to one computer sessions and National Libraries Day activities.
He enjoyed it all but he found working with children during the Summer Reading Challenge and helping people on a one to one basis with computers especially rewarding.
"I particularly enjoyed the Challenge and computer sessions as I had the opportunity to work with younger children and also learn to work with people of different abilities."
Saagar has gained a great deal from the experience including a multitude of skills that he will be able to use in the future. He has also become a more confident person.
"I've learnt an enormous amount. The experience has definitely boosted my confidence and I now feel more confident working with the public."
Landing the job
After volunteering for two years, Saagar applied for a Saturday job at Redbridge Central Library and got the position. He felt that his volunteering experience helped to make him stand out from the other candidates.
"I do think it would have been harder to get the job if I hadn't volunteered or had some experience with libraries as I may not have stood out as a strong applicant."
Saagar has now been working at the library for a year and loves his job. He enjoys the busy atmosphere and finds working with the public immensely rewarding.
"As we are the largest Redbridge library there is always something to do, which I like. I enjoy working on the Welcome Desk as I like providing customer service and interacting with people. However, there is not a single aspect of the job I do not like!"
Saagar is currently doing his A Levels and plans to go on to University and study Law. He feels that the skills he has learnt through volunteering and working in the library will be extremely valuable to his future.
"I have gained invaluable communication, team-work, leadership and confidence skills which I can now apply to any situation. I think that any form of IT knowledge, and the ability to offer support is valuable in any profession. I would definitely recommend volunteering and working in libraries to anyone!"
Find out how to become a young volunteer for the 2014 Summer Reading Challenge and get involved.
Read other volunteers' stories. We recently spoke to Katy from Wiltshire and Mahnoor from Redbridge who has also been able to secure a job at the library as a result of volunteering.