In my sophomore year at Brandeis (something very much recent in my memory, as I am currently a rising junior), I took part in a program called Splash. Splash is a one-day event in which students are Brandeis teach a course on something that interests them to a group of students from a local middle school or high school. I have always loved stories, so on a whim I decided to teach about what went in to building a setting for a novel. I did a lot of research and created what I hoped to be an engaging and fun lesson plan. When the day of the event arrived, however, I found that only one person had signed up for my class.
This was somewhat discouraging, of course, but I tried to take it in stride. Despite the low turnout, I found that the teaching itself was, at least for me, something I quite enjoyed. That realization helped drive me towards this internship. After all, a major role of a public library, especially during the summer, is to provide engaging and educational experiences for children.
The low turnout to my class stuck with me as well. I certainly could not take the low turnout in one class taught by a college pre-grad in the middle of the COVID epidemic as emblematic of anything larger. However, I am very well aware that most people do not love to read and write as much as I do. It can be hard to find time as an adult, and for children and teens one can’t exactly call sitting down with a good novel particularly “cool.” Even so, I know I find incredible joy in just that, and I believe others would as well. Encouraging the development of a love of reading, and helping someone sustain that love, is to me one of the most important things a library can do.
I have a somewhat varied role within the Harrison Library. I primarily work to support the children’s librarian, but what that actually means can vary from day to day. I’ve done everything from writing trivia questions to designing flyers to ensuring the shelves remain alphabetized (which can be somewhat tedious, but remains a necessity). The thing I enjoy the most, however, is working with children. I have worked quite a bit with the Harrison Library Battle of the Books teams especially (I discussed BoB in my last blog post) where I have found myself in the role of essentially an assistant coach.
When I was in middle school, I actually participated in the first few Westchester Battle of the Books competitions. That participation, I believe, went a long way towards driving and encouraging my own love of reading. My hope is that by working with these teams, I can provide the kids with a fun summer experience and help keep reading fun and engaging for them. Of course, I do not think anyone would be on the team if they did not already enjoy reading, but that does not mean the joy can’t be nurtured into something that, hopefully, lasts a lifetime.