Welcome to Volunteer Services

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Volunteering at the library is a great way to use your talents, provide valuable service to the community, learn new skills and meet great people.  Our current opportunities are listed on the right. Just click on the link to learn more about the position or click on the green button to see all opportunties available with San Jose Public Library.

Volunteer Spotlight--Meet Linda Nguyen

Learning  English language writing skills can be daunting! Between needing subjects and verbs to agree, deciding which preposition is the right preposition and attempting to punctuate perfectly, it’s no wonder there is a need for tutoring from an expert. At the Bascom Branch Library we are fortunate to be able to offer an ESL (English as a Second Language) Writing Class, thanks to the dedication of one of our volunteers, Linda Nguyen. The class meets every Saturday from 3:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Linda has been teaching the class at the Bascom Branch since it opened in the early part of 2013. She has helped numerous people with everything from essays to resumes and cover letters. Before volunteering at the Bascom Branch, she volunteered as an ESL tutor and instructor assistant for CET’s (Center for Employment Training) Immigration and Citizenship Program. This experience prepared her  well for her position at the library.

In addition to her volunteer work, Linda enjoys pursuing her life goals and interests.  After graduating from San Jose State University with a double bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Behavioral Science, she went on to graduate with a master’s degree in Library and Information Science. She is currently pursuing a certificate in marketing. She has also recently completed a six-month leadership training program for which she was featured in The Santa Clara Weekly, the city of Santa Clara’s newspaper, describing her experience in the program. In her spare time she enjoys her many hobbies which include website design, arts & crafts, acting, and reading. She is also learning conversational Chinese!

With such a large percentage of San José’s population being comprised of people born outside of the United States, Linda’s ESL Writing Class is needed now more than ever before. The Bascom Branch is fortunate to be able offer this wonderful opportunity for our ESL customers to learn and grow. 

Volunteer News

Visual Vectors: Art Show at the Berryessa Library

creative artBeing a part of teensReach became an indescribable experience for Helen Hoang and I (Sharon Tsang), along with many other dedicated volunteers. It’s a place where we are able to learn new leadership skills and assert our roles as teensReach officers. We wondered what we could do to incorporate an exciting event for the Berryessa Branch’s friends and families? Co-directed with fellow officer, Helen Hoang, we constructed a short series of art workshops called "Creative Art" to let people of all ages define their artistic abilities into inventive art pieces. We wanted their works of art to be recognized, so we decided to open our first art exhibit, Visual Vectors: Art Show. As the officers of teensReach, we sought to give the library community an engaging and enjoyable way to express their imagination and creativity through art.


We are both equally passionate about art and hoped that the public would enjoy participating in an art-based event. Both Helen and I wanted to present unique and entertaining art projects for the community using valuable resources, because we believe "art can be made into anything beautiful." In our first workshop, Creative Art: Recycled Sculptures, we used reusable objects including bottles, cans, circuit boards, aluminum foil, paper, cardboard, old books, and other items brick booksto sculpt anything our hearts desired. The second workshop, Creative Art: Brick Books focused on recreating all-time favorites of books using red bricks and acrylic paint. Our third and final workshop, Creative Art: Tile Quilt concentrated on decorating ceramic tiles using pure creativity, which will be laid out delicately across the floor to represent a "quilt."


The success of the workshops was mind-blowing to us. We received many submissions of beautifully crafted art works from many committed individuals. Although it was challenging, being a part of something everyone enjoyed gave us a great feeling. From the start, our goal was to give the Berryessa Branch Library community a fun and interesting experience to remember. Join us on April 12, 2014 from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm, for the finale of our long-lasted art program where we will be displaying numerous art works made by people of our Berryessa community! Come down and support our dedicated artists!

teensReach Volunteers at Dr. Roberto Cruz - Alum Rock Branch Library

The Dr. Roberto Cruz-Alum Rock Branch Library is fortunate to have a great group of teensReach volunteers. Over the past year, the teens have volunteered over 930 hours of their time. The Alum Rock teensReach group has planned and presented many fun and engaging programs to their community, including: a summer carnival, a haunted house during Halloween, Verbal Adrenaline and Reading Buddies. Additionally, the Alum Rock teens contributed 471 volunteer hours to the 2013 Summer Reading program. They were charged with signing up participants, handing out prizes and assisting staff with children’s programs. The Dr. Roberto  Cruz - Alum Rock Library is extremely fortunate to have such a vibrant and engaged group of teen volunteers!


teensReach is a great place to make new friends and contribute to your community, all while earning volunteer/community service hours. Teens, if you are interested in volunteering at your local branch, check out our teensReach page for more information!


Meet King Library Tech Mentor Volunteer, Swetha Sridharan


Meet King Library Tech Mentor volunteer, Swetha Sridharan. Since August, she has been working twice weekly with our customers in need of technical assistance with public PCs, personal laptops, eBooks downloads, Craigslist findings, e-mail account set-ups, etc. Swetha has now added an additional day onto her schedule with us. Swetha has volunteered on occasional, short-term projects, but this is her first long term volunteer experience. Her reaction:


"This has been a totally different experience for me and a chance to meet a great variety of people. I have enjoyed helping. It feels good whenever I am able to solve a problem – no matter how insignificant.


My best experience has been with a dyslexic customer. I had previously never worked with anyone with different abilities. This customer wanted to be independent. She wanted to do things for herself. I looked up to her, as I assisted her in trying to achieve her goals.


A second profoundly memorable experience occurred as I was trying to explain to a customer that he had a faulty laptop. He became angry and loudly exploded in a fit of temper. The next day he returned to say that I was right and he was sorry. He then asked for my help once more. After I had found a solution to his problem, he thanked me from the bottom of his heart and promised never to lose his temper again. I felt so good that I was able to help him and that he was able to apologize.


I sincerely recommend this volunteer work to others. I have had experiences unlike any found in books. I have found satisfaction at the close of each work day and a sense of fulfillment. I have met so many people that have gone through life experiences so unfamiliar to my own.


I love books. I love reading. The one thing that most attracted me to this position was the library setting. King Library has an excellent collection of books and through routing and requests, a way to borrow those I’d like that are not found here. I also love the DVDs. The library staff is friendly. Sitting at the reference desk in close proximity to the staff, I have been quite amazed at how many ways the library helps people. People don’t just come here for books, they also seek help. I am happy to be here."


Swetha is an enthusiastic volunteer, an asset to the library, and a pleasure to work with. We are so happy that Swetha has chosen to bring her gifts of time and talent to the community at King Library.

If you don't see what you're looking for here, other volunteer opportunities in your community can be found on californialibraries.volunteermatch.org.

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