Cady West, Grade 10
Cady is a huge Harry Potter fan, as well as a wealth of many other fandoms, including Welcome to Night Vale. In fact, she’s one of the instigators of our Welcome to Night Vale Listening Parties at the Central Library. She considers herself a Slytherin. She was a member of the Teen Advisory Board (TAB) during the 2014-2016 school year.
This year, Cady and her family are moving out of Pasadena, so we’ll miss her! She has been instrumental in the success of one of biggest TAB planned events: the Harry Potter Party last year.
How long have you been a volunteer here? TAB member?
I’ve been a TAB member for about as long as I’ve been a volunteer, so about a year and a half.
What made you want to join TAB and be a volunteer? How did you hear about it?
I don’t know how my mother heard about it, but she emailed me about getting in touch with the library and becoming a volunteer. I like books and I like working with people, so whatever I did I thought I’d enjoy it. Then, Jane emailed me about coming to a TAB meeting. From what she told me, it seemed like just a really good opportunity to get involved with something in my community that I could really enjoy doing.
What was your favorite volunteer project? Or what stood out the most?
One of my favorite things that I’ve done while in TAB and as a volunteer is the Pasadena Loves YA book festival. For a while I was just telling people where to park, but for most of the time I was just enjoying the book festival and I was introduced to so many great authors, as well as met some of my favorites!
Is there a contribution you’ve made that you’re particularly proud of?
Nothing that I’m particularly proud of, but I’m proud of being a member of TAB as a whole and having a hand in organizing so many events at the library along with the rest of the group.
Do you think compared to other teens you have a different understanding about what libraries represent?
Yes! For sure I feel like I do. I was discussing something similar to this with Jane and a few other TAB member at our last TAB meeting, and she was telling us how librarians do more than just sort books and all that- they help with research, organize events, work to bring more people to the library, etc. Libraries are for more than just checking out books, they’re really a place to bring people and ideas together, and be a safe space for community members to get help and learn new things.
What skills have you learned from volunteering at the library you think are most useful?
A lot of skills that I’ve gained from TAB and volunteering are confidence skills (I feel like that was phrased weird but I don’t know how else I can phrase it). I really struggle with speaking in front of crowds, sharing my ideas, and things like that. TAB has helped me, you know, speak up about my opinions or ideas for events and even just to talk to strangers about events they show up to and I need to tell them about. I’ve also learned a lot about working as a team and getting along with people you don’t really know. In TAB, everything is a team effort. We’re a team who help organize events and help out at the library. The same way I’ve learned to speak up in the group, I’ve also realized I can’t control everything and that I dont need to.
Do you volunteer anywhere else?
I don’t volunteer anywhere else regularly like I have with the library, but I have volunteered as a camp counselor and as part of beautification team (we clean up parks and such) before.
Would you join TAB at your new local library?
Absolutely! I’d love to be a part of a group like TAB at my new local library. One of the first things I plan on doing when I move (after unpacking and going to camp) is to see what I can do at the closest library and if I can get involved with anything similar to TAB.
What other ideas do you have for the library?
This idea is actually something that is already being organized, but I think that since a library is a community safe space to bring people together and learn new things, having a way for teen who needs help to reach out and get that help is incredibly important. Something I’d like to see happen at libraries is more LGBTQ+ related or focused events or things like that, since that’s something I personally feel is important to have, and since a lot of LGBTQ+ events are not geared toward teens or minors, having a safe space to connect with other LGBTQ+ teens and get information whether it be about the best colleges to go to, talking to family and friends about it, etc., is something I’d like to see in the future (at any library, really).
What do you think the mission of the Teen Advisory Board is?
I think the mission of the Teen Advisory Board is to bring teens together in leadership positions and give them the chance to learn outside of school and gain skills that could really help in college or jobs. Any library employee could do what TAB members do, but we get the chance to see our ideas come to life in events and to meet people we wouldn’t otherwise meet, all while gaining a safe space. I didn’t consider the library a “safe space” for me until I joined TAB.
Why do you think this is important?
Teens struggle with confidence! We’re often told our ideas don’t matter, that our job is to go to school and that’s it. In TAB, we’re not told that. As volunteers, like I said, we really get a hand in events and things for the library and that’s not something I get anywhere else. It’s really boosted my confidence.