What’s it like to volunteer at the Library?

Last week Tea Tree Gully Library celebrated National Volunteer Week, and all of the good work they do. The Library simply could not function without the devotion and energy of our volunteers, who come from many different backgrounds and ages. One of our youngest volunteers is Sophie, who recently gave us some feedback on her experience helping with the Library’s Digital Hub. We would like to encourage anyone interested in volunteering at the Library, or another council-run facility, to visit the Volunteer Vacancies website

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and how did you come to end up as a volunteer at the Tea Tree Gully Library?

Hi, I’m Sophie!  I spend my Tuesday afternoons volunteering at the Digital Hub in Tea Tree Gully library.  I’m originally from Canada but moved here from England where I lived for four years, after having lived in Upstate New York for 11 years!

While visiting the Tea Tree Gully website I saw an ad about volunteering at the Digital Hub, and after making a phone call, meeting up with some coordinators, and having an interview, I was in!

What kinds of things do you provide volunteer assistance with at the library?

I work at the Digital Hub, helping mostly seniors learn how to use technology more effectively on  iPads, laptops, computers, iPods, or phones.

You are one of our youngest volunteers at the library, and you work with some of our most elderly customers. Is the age gap an issue and are people shocked when they see how young you are? 

The age gap doesn’t seem to be a problem in the least!  I think the elderly people love seeing a young face.  Sometimes when someone arrives for a lesson, even though I am right there, they stand around and seem to be wondering where their teacher is!  I approach them with a smile and ask them, “Are you here for the Digital Hub?”  I sometimes receive a surprised look but they don’t seem to mind at all.

What is it about volunteering you enjoy – where do you get your moments of joy?

It is such a joy to be able to explain things and solve problems that have been such a pain to the customer.  I love seeing the excitement on their face when they understand how to navigate or use a certain product.  It is always fun to amaze them with handy new tricks like copy and pasting (my most popular one)! I love hearing positive reports from staff members about people who have really appreciated a session.

What are some of the challenges with volunteering?

I think the biggest challenge is thinking up solutions on the spot and figuring out how to explain them as clearly as I can.

You are so young and the world is your oyster. Why have you made the choice to volunteer at such a young age, rather than go out and party, enjoy your hobbies and friends?

I thought volunteering would be the perfect way to get a taste of what a job might be like.  And I am actually enjoying my hobbies at the hub by teaching and exploring technology!  I have even met some lovely new people whom I am getting to know. I enjoy my regular customers!

What would you say to someone who is interested in volunteering, but is slightly hesitant about giving it a go?

Don’t let an opportunity such as volunteering pass you by!  It is a perfect way to get some great experience and meet some lovely people along the way.  You will never regret doing something that is not just beneficial for yourself but also for the many people who you will be helping.  It doesn’t hurt to give volunteering a try but you will probably end up continuing once you’ve started!

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