JCPL Column: Library offers volunteer opportunities

Giving back to the community through volunteer work is one of the most rewarding opportunities Johnson County Public Library provides.

I have been an intern at the Clark Pleasant Branch since late August. I have always loved what public libraries do for the community, having spent countless hours of my youth at my local libraries. When I was searching for an internship and got accepted at the Clark Pleasant Branch, all I thought was, “Awesome, I get to spend a lot of time around books!” But as I spent more time at the branch, I got to see just how much JCPL cares about the community and the amount of work that goes into providing wonderful services to Johnson County. I had always enjoyed the services libraries provide, but I never really gave much thought to how a member of the community, such as myself, could be part of giving back through volunteer work.

Throughout my internship, I have had the opportunity to play a part in a few programs the Clark Pleasant Branch does for the benefit of the community. I have regularly organized and packed Lit Loot bags, a program that sends out library books, snacks to enjoy while reading, fun stickers and a book to keep, to teens in the local community each month. It fosters a love of reading in young minds and helps teens start to build their own library at home.

I also helped with the Read to Me Jamboree at the Clark Pleasant Branch. I got to help set up all the tables and chairs before the event. I took shifts at the welcome table near the front, interacting with members of the community and directing them to all of the lovely events and guests throughout the day. I also got to take a shift at one of the many children’s literacy activities, helping children practice their writing skills using sand. The Read to Me Jamboree was a great success with the children getting to meet Daniel Tiger, hearing a book read by award-winning children’s author and illustrator Oge Mora, seeing a canine unit and a firetruck and much more.

Being part of these events for the community was one of the most rewarding experiences I have been part of during my stay in Johnson County. There is such a level of joy to be had when you can give back to your community, and one of the best places to do that is at one of the Johnson County Public Library Branches. The experience has been so rewarding that I plan to continue volunteering at the Clark Pleasant Branch after the end of my official internship. If you would like to share in this experience, consider volunteering at your local JCPL Branch.

Volunteering opportunities include:

  • Tutoring Adult Learners: Volunteer tutors in the Adult Learning Center help community members with low English literacy skills or those learning English as a Second Language develop basic language skills. Volunteers are needed for both one-on-one and small-group learning.
  • A-B-C Read to Me Program: Volunteers visit new parents at Johnson Memorial Hospital. Volunteers give the parents books and library materials that guide them through introducing early literacy practices to their children.

For more volunteering opportunities and information on how to become a volunteer visit

Kalijah Hessig, Franklin College intern at Clark Pleasant Branch Library. Johnson County Public Library staff members share in writing this bi-monthly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected]