Libraries are a pleasant, quiet respite from a chaotic world. These community centers are available for people of all ages from storytime for preschoolers to senior citizens taking free classes on how to use the internet.
My very first volunteer job as a teenager involved helping at the library with various tasks such as creating buttons for children’s events, re-shelving books, and stamping return dates on cards. The experience was rewarding as I received an opportunity to learn social skills outside of school as well as get my first foundation of having a work ethic for future employers. More importantly, my love of reading fit in well with the library environment.
After not using the library for a long time, I rediscovered my local library over the past year. A 2017 Pew research study showed that many in my generation, the Millennials, are more likely to use their local public library in the past year than any other generation.
One reason for using my local public library is access to audiobooks on CD for long car trips. One of my favorite audiobooks I’ve listened to so far is the Prairie Home Companion short stories by Garrison Keillor and Playing for Pizza by John Grisham about an ex-NFL player who leaves the limelight after blowing a lead in the conference championship game by playing recreation league American football in Italy.
The books on CD are a great way of stimulating one’s brain to break up the monotony of driving down the highway. Many libraries now have an option where a member can download audiobooks onto a smartphone, which can then be hooked up to the car stereo for listening enjoyment.
Another good use of the library is the use of free wi-fi. Although commercial places like Starbucks have free wi-fi, one often has to buy something from the business to use their internet service.
At the library, all one has to do is connect their laptop to the public wi-fi, and one can get their work done in a calm environment. I recently used my local public library to complete some freelance writing work as I was meeting friends for both lunch and dinner on the side of town where I worked and did not want to drive all the way home.
Over the past several years, libraries across the United States have begun offering services and programs for people on the Autism Spectrum. For example, the non-profit group Libraries and Autism provide a training video on how library staff can better serve individuals and families affected by Autism and Aspergers. Some libraries also have sensory-friendly storytimes to children with Autism.
Volunteering at a public library is one way for parents to expose teens with High-Functioning Autism and Aspergers a job where they can excel at discussing books related to their interest while learning about possible future career and practicing social skills in a safe environment. The individual might come away with a friend or two while visiting or volunteering at their local public library.
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