library volunteers

Skilled Volunteers Can Help Support Digital Literacy Initiatives

I recently wrote an article for Public Libraries Online on how the Berkeley Public Library (BPL) in California is making coding more accessible to its community through free workshops. The volunteer who is leading these classes is Sameer Siruguri. He is actually a former TechSouper and had reached out to the TechSoup for Libraries team to see if other libraries have done similar programming. 

Tech + Volunteers = Library Success!

Hour of Code at Chattanooga Library

The focus of my story was the coding programs for adults (inspired by the excellent Library Journal piece, How to Talk Code: Digital Literacy). But I thought this was also a wonderful example of how volunteers can help support technology and digital literacy initiatives.

I interviewed Siruguri along with Dan Beringhele, an adult services librarian at the Berkeley Public Library's Central Library, and Anwan Baker, the supervising librarian for adult services. Siruguri had approached the BPL because he was searching for a venue to host a RailsBridge workshop, a weekend event that teaches coding to underserved people. Previously, the Central Library had only offered basic computer classes, and both Beringhele and Baker wanted to see if there was any interest in more advanced programs, like coding.

The three planned an introductory class for adults that covered the basics of HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. The class was so well received that they're planning a follow-up class that is focused specifically on JavaScript.

How to Recruit and Engage Tech Volunteers at Your Library

Could your library use some assistance in staffing? Whether you work at a large city library or a small one- or two-staff-member rural library, volunteers can make a huge difference! But how do you recruit, manage, and engage volunteers? How do you make sure your volunteers keep coming back?

My kids got me a Kindle

Moving Together: A volunteer partnership is a true win-win

60,000 books.
46 full-sized chairs, desks, tables and shelves.
12 large stacks.
10 full and part-time staff.
8 public access computers.
5 staff offices.

60% less floor space.