Student Spotlight: Lessons from the Stacks
Cristian Tlatenchi and Andres Garcia
Andres Garcia and I are volunteers at our public library. To our dismay, it is actually really fun. Most people that volunteer or work don't have a blast like we do. We have met so many people and have made so many connections that are going to help us in the future. It’s a great place to be if you want to meet some great people. A lot of the community goes and it’s a constant barrage of interesting conversations.
There are a lot of things that go into running a library. Some of our responsibilities are to organize the books and take care of book check in and check out. But our most important duties is to help kids pick up a book. We want to show kids the joys of reading books. It’s just a great feeling when you can get someone to pick up a book and actually enjoy it. When we first got to the library, we saw a lot of kids on the computers. They would come in and not even look at a book. Slowly but surely we have been helping them get into reading. That is definitely our favorite part.
It did take a while for us to get into a groove. Both of us struggled with attendance at first. We were just not used to having to show up every day for anything other than school. It took a bit but we eventually adjusted. Something I struggled with even more was my fear of just speaking to random people, a fear that I had to get over really quickly. Going to the library has helped me realize that talking to a stranger should not be a big deal. I shouldn't be stressing about something like that.
Volunteering at the library has definitely opened some doors for us. Earlier this year we had a chance to be in the Columbus Day parade. Andres was in the band, while I rode in the library float in a full-body Scooby Doo costume. We don’t want to brag, but our float definitely got the most laughs. Volunteering is something all high school students should do. It’s nice to give back to your community, and you never know, you might actually enjoy it and get something great out of it like we did.
We have been there for almost five months. It definitely doesn't feel like five months. Time just goes by in a blur. We both owe it to our friend Joan Mejia. He had been working there for a while. He recommended us to Cathy Crawford, the main librarian. Cathy gave us a try and the rest is history.