AmeriCorps Week is a dedicated time each year that key stakeholders work together to celebrate and thank national service alumni and current AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers.
In honor of AmeriCorps week, San José Public Library would like to thank our Library VISTAs that support critical Library programs through fundraising, grant writing, research, and volunteer recruitment. The Library VISTA Project Initiated in 2019 and since then the Library has engaged 13 total VISTA members. Collectively these VISTAs have recruited over 100 new community volunteers, secured $76,000 in cash resources, and secured $73,100 in non-cash resources supporting high impact programs and services at the Library.
Megan Hungerford - Digital Equity and Inclusion VISTA
Megan has been a great addition to our Education and Programming Services Team. She represents the intentionality, thoughtfulness, and resourceful approach this team takes when creating curricula and programs for San José residents. Her priority as a VISTA this year is to expand access to the digital literacy curriculum by creating lessons on topics such as how to use digital devices, how to be safe online, topics on user privacy, how to utilize SJPL services available and so many more. Her contribution to the library in creating the Digital Skills Learning Pathways will support patrons by using this tool to help expand their knowledge and skill set on all things digital. Thank you for your hard work, Megan! Your work will reach many patrons and help continue the effort in closing the digital divide.
- Yadirha Orozco-Lemus, Literacy Programs Specialist in Education Programming Services
Get to know a little more about Megan:
- My first job... was at a bead store and my job involved stocking and sales, as well as teaching customers how to make their own necklaces, earrings, and other jewelry.
- I am most proud of... getting my bachelor's of science in Environment Science and Management from UC Davis.
- My role model as a child... was Captain Janeway from Star Trek Voyager. She was a strong, but compassionate leader who believed in gathering scientific knowledge and in the ability of her crew to rise to any challenge.
- Libraries are... amazing! There are too many things to list, but libraries are one of the great achievements of human kind and show the best side of humanity.
- I'm a VISTA because... I believe that the world is a better place when we contribute to our communities, both giving back and passing forward.
- Once my service year is over... I hope to continue working at a library in some capacity.
Katie Bauman – PAR Community Engagement VISTA
Katie Bauman is in her second year as an AmeriCorp Vista with Partners in Reading. Katie's work centers around recruitment, community outreach, and program engagements. Katie ensures that PAR is a consistent, positive presence at events throughout the City of San José and that individuals who use our services receive encouragement as they build their new literacy skills. Katie also serves on the Library's Racial Equity Team, working to create a more inclusive system, and partners with Family Literacy Centers at local branches to support programming targeted towards San José's high-needs populations.
-Adrian McBride, Manager Partners In Reading Unit
Get to know a little more about Katie:
- As a child... I wanted to be a marine biologist because I love learning about sharks.
- My first job... (besides babysitting) was as a math tutor during high school. This is what helped me realize that I wanted to be a high school math teacher, which I was for 20 years! My first real paycheck was for my job working as a student in the Overseas Studies Program office at Stanford University.
- Libraries are... full of countless and amazing resources. I am in awe of all the work and programming that goes on in the San José Public Library.
- I'm a VISTA... for a second year because I love the VISTA work I'm doing in San José and I love working with the Partners and Reading team! I appreciate so much the opportunity to serve my community and support those who need our services. And I am grateful for everything that I have learned from and about different San José communities, from other nonprofit organizations, and from everyone at the San José Public Library.
- Once my service year is over... I'll figure out what comes next - maybe go back to teaching, maybe find a small nonprofit organization to work for, or maybe a combination of those or something entirely different!
Library VISTAs to Library Employees
SJPL has been fortunate enough to have two past VISTAs continue working with us as Library employees:
Julianna Black served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at SJPL for the Alum Rock and Hillview branches in 2020, researching partnerships and outreach opportunities, as well as organizing a Virtual Resource Fair. Julie is now a full time Literacy Programs Specialist in the Equity and Inclusion Services unit, with a focus on serving individuals facing chronic and episodic homelessness.
Get to know a little more about Julianna:
- My time as a Library VISTA... was a foundational learning experience for me as a helping professional. Since I am not originally from here, it was really important for me to spend time to learn about the incredibly diverse community in San José. I'm truly grateful to all the library staff and community members that took the time to guide me during that formative year.
- In the time since my service year ended, I've... created new library programs, influenced staff trainings, and lead various projects within SJPL's equity working groups.
- Becoming a Library staff member... has given me a foundation with which to build my career all while centering creative and innovative ways to reimagine library spaces for our most vulnerable community members. I feel so lucky!
Through their work as a VISTA with Early Education, Treasure Nguyen was awarded the Gen2Gen Innovation Fellowship through encore.org. After completing their second service year as an AmeriCorps VISTA in the Early Education Unit in 2020, Treasure was hired as a full time Literacy Programs Specialist making Early Education outreach more equitable and effective.
Get to know a little more about Treasure:
- My time as a Library VISTA... was an incredible hands-on learning experience for me that jumpstarted my professional growth.
- In the time since my service year ended... I've been very fortunate to have the opportunity to continue working on Library projects I'm passionate about, from increasing language access to promoting disability justice.
- Becoming a Library staff member... granted me a position to continue making an impact though working with our amazing Library staff and communities to create more inclusive and equitable services.