Interview answers collected by William Krestow, age 16
Most teen events at the library, while supervised by library staff, are facilitated by teen volunteers. Events like the annual murder mystery, or services like the Teen Zine are primarily brought to life by teen volunteers at the library. Attending schools across Pasadena and belonging to no single grade or group, those who volunteer at the library help the city engage with the community. We asked our volunteers about their experienced at the library and the ways they participate here.
Why did you start volunteering at the Pasadena Public Library?
I started volunteering at the library because I needed a place to complete my community service hours for school, and the library seemed like a great place to do so. After I completed my service hours for school, I continued to volunteer at the library because I genuinely enjoy helping set up for events or leading workshops. I also like volunteering at the library because it allows me to engage more with my community because I’m able to discuss youth issues with Pasadena City workers.-Jonathan Garcia
What are your volunteers roles for the Pasadena Public Library?
I used to be a volunteer in events or special projects before I joined the Teen Advisory Board (TAB). After joining, I input my opinions and effort to places where I can. -Carolyn Sam
Teen Advisory Board member, Teen Zine Organizer, Graphic Designer & Contributor -Jonathan Haile
Marketing Committee Vice Chair, Teen Writers Meetup Facilitator -Genevieve Harvey
I am on the STEAM committee for the Teen Advisory Board (TAB) and I am the Youth Network Liaison -Jonathan Garcia
Teen Advisory Board member, Team Leader for the Murder Mystery, represented TAB at the levelUP Youth Leadership Conference -Liliana Edmonds
What do you typically do at the library?
I help out with small events and try to help with the book sale clean ups when I can because they are on Saturdays and I usually have time on Saturdays. Most of the time, it’s special projects or children’s events, so they’re small and don’t require too much effort. -Carolyn Sam
I attend Youth Network meetings; I attend TAB meetings; I check out books that help me with school; I check out books to read; I study and do homework with friends; and I participate in workshops. -Jonathan Garcia
I attend/participate in TAB meetings and events (such as the Murder Mystery) and Teen Writers Meetups. -Genevieve Harvey
How do you feel about working alongside the library staff?
Respected. They are willing to give their time to help us because they appreciate how we help them. It is a mutual workplace relationship.
Great! They are very helpful and will take their time to help you with anything you need (for the most part). -Genevieve Harvey
Of all the places to volunteer, why at the library?
The library keeps me calm in all honesty. Being around so many book cases and walking through corridors with so much information written within every page keeps me at peace. The library is an outlet for me to escape to whenever life on the outside is really getting me down. My parents would drive me to the library after school throughout elementary school to do my homework until the library closed, so I guess I’ve grown fond of being there. -Genevieve Harvey
The library’s environment is welcoming and comfortable. I like to give back to places that give back to me, and the library is definitely one of those places. -Jonathan Garcia
How would you describe your experience volunteering?
I do more work outside the library than I do inside the library. This is usually through the marketing committee or work for TAB. I add my input whenever present at TAB meetings and I try to stay consistent with being present at the library at least twice a month. -Genevieve Harvey
A learning experience where I have been able to take part in many activities that I wouldn’t have known of if I wasn’t a volunteer. -Jonathan Garcia
What have you learned volunteering here?
I have made quite a few connections with people that I need to know for my future career. I’ve also developed my leadership skills and my graphic design skills by continued application. –Jonathan Haile
Helping to make library programs and services happen involves a lot of volunteering. One has to be willing to adjust their schedule because they made a commitment to facilitate a library event months ago. One has to be willing to listen to what topics are discussed at each TAB meeting and actively participate if they want their ideas to be heard and/or implemented into the library program. One has to be willing to do work outside of the library and stay consistent with what they are doing because it ultimately affects the entire library program as a whole. -Genevieve Harvey
I have learned how to organize big events and how to use library resources (and teach others to learn library resources). -Liliana Edmonds
Has volunteering at the library given you any skills or perspectives applicable outside of the library?
As I mentioned before, my time here has given me a lot of opportunities to develop both my leadership skills and my graphic design skills. I’m also quite good at tutoring, it seems, from my brief stint as a homework helper. -Jonathan Haile
I have learned marketing skills and challenges of working at the library. Now I am more aware on how to effectively publicize events. Volunteering at the library has also helped me become more organized over the years. I am an avid user of planners and constantly take it out whenever I am planning something in the near or far future. -Genevieve Harvey
Yes, it has improved my confidence in interacting with others and taking responsibilities into my own hands. -Liliana Edmonds
What happens in a typical volunteer shift for you?
I work with other people or by myself and I help at events. Sometimes if I have to work with someone doing a special project or something I strike up small conversation. During a public event I usually have to talk to parents, but most of the time it’s a mix of work and small talk. -Carolyn Sam
I engage with my community whether it’s through helping set up for a community event for children, attending monthly Youth Network meetings, or planning activities/events for teens through TAB. -Jonathan Garcia