Jodie was a second year student at the University of Birmingham when she applied to be a Summer Reading Challenge volunteer at Dudley Libraries. She decided to sign up because she was interested in volunteering and hoped it might give her an opportunity to enhance her CV and to obtain some useful skills. Little did she know that her summer of volunteering would help her secure a paid job. Here she tells us more her volunteering experience in Halesowen, Long Lane and Cradley libraries.
My volunteering experience
My main duties were to supervise and assist with the craft activities for the children. I had to record every child who visited, show them how to do the craft and help them to complete it, whilst also encouraging them to enjoy themselves. I also told people about the Summer Reading Challenge and signed them up to it, recording when children completed aspects of the Challenge. Some of the events I helped with this summer included making a wind chime and making lion masks.
I liked being in the library and learning more about how it operates. I enjoyed meeting new people and talking to them or assisting them. I particularly enjoyed being with the children and encouraging them to participate in and have fun with the activities, and also promoting the joys and benefits of reading.
I have always loved reading; my parents actively encouraged me to read a lot and, as a child, they read to me every day. I think it is more important than ever at the present time to encourage young children to read. I believe that reading is essential as it is not only a basic and fundamental skill, but it also stimulates creativity and imagination.
What I gained from volunteering
My Summer Reading Challenge volunteering has helped me in a number of ways. First of all, I have gained more self-confidence. Working in the library, I had to learn to adapt to new situations and to co-operate with new people, which was challenging at first, but rewarding, as I am a bit shy usually. But talking to staff and the public has helped me overcome this. Additionally, I have gained valuable customer service experience and library related experience, which has been very useful and has enhanced my CV.
When I started volunteering this year, I had already been accepted onto postgraduate study at the University of Birmingham, but I have also secured a job as a Library Support Assistant at the University as a result of my experience. Despite not having any paid experience in a library or any other customer service based role, my voluntary experience for Dudley Libraries was advantageous and I am entirely thankful to them for having me.
I would definitely encourage other young people to volunteer with the Summer Reading Challenge as it has been a rewarding experience for me. I have met new people, developed new skills and also had fun volunteering. The skills I have obtained have been very useful for getting a job, so I would encourage other people to volunteer to help enhance their own CVs.
Interested in building your CV through volunteering or like the idea of meeting new friends whilst helping out at your local library? Find out more about Reading Activists and what you can do for yourself and for your local community.
If you've been volunteering this summer tell us about your experiences on our facebook page or contact Claire Styles on firstname.lastname@example.org and we might feature your story on our website too.