We are joining in the celebration of National Volunteer Week with many organisations across Australia to thank those who have given so much to YPRL and our local community.
Today we are featuring one of our wonderful Ivanhoe Library-based volunteers, Robin Massey. Read below to find out how she got involved in the library (hint: it involves piano lessons!) and what she loves so much about her volunteer position with us.
Name: Robin Massey
Local Library & Place of Volunteering: Ivanhoe Library
Volunteer Position: Group English Conversation
Time Volunteering with YPRL: 4 Years
What book are you currently reading?
Occasionally I use Bolinda for eBooks.
If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, living or dead, who would it be?
Two people come to mind: Michelle Obama because I have so many more questions I want to ask her outside of her book, and Shakespeare. I am very curious about his life as we seem to have very limited records of his story and of his body of work. I would love to know more.
Why YPRL? What motivated you to volunteer with YPRL and why have you stayed?
I have been a member of the library since Ivanhoe Library opened in 1965, around the time I was 4. My sister and I used to have piano lessons nearby and we would take turns waiting in the library while the other had their lessons.
4 years ago, I saw a poster at Ivanhoe advertising for volunteers to help with group conversation classes. After inquiring about the position, I shadowed an afternoon conversation session, and now 4 years later here we are.
What makes this volunteer experience a meaningful use of your time?
My favourite part of this volunteer role is having wonderful interactions with people who come along to the group. Often there are familiar people who attend, but there are always also new people joining in. Some individuals I have come to know a bit more over the years. People who attend often have such diverse backgrounds and interesting stories about their lives, which drives curiosity and questions from other participants.
Recently, a woman originally from Russia who has lived in Australia for some time attended a session I facilitated. This revelation then lead those from China to reminisce on the many connections they had with Russia – an association many of us would find surprising.
Tell us story of a favourite moment at the library or when you felt you made an impact.
I find that the participants of the Group English Conversation classes are always grateful for the time together. It is always a lovely experience. Watching people improve their English is very rewarding. Some attendees used to be surprised that my position was a volunteer position!
Libraries have changed so much since throughout the decades. Why are libraries so important for the local community today?
I think that libraries today are more important than ever to the local communities because of the diversity of offerings they have. Sometimes I do admit to wishing libraries were quieter, but I can cope with this change because we have gained so much, including the ability to access information in so many different ways. There are so many more programs and events people can attend including things for children and teens. The library environment today is so much richer!
Do you have any advice for people wanting to get involved in the community?
The local library is a great place to start. Look at the community flyers display in the branch to see what is going on in the community and at the library. You can also talk to the branch staff about any volunteering opportunities in the branch or in the community.
Public Libraries Victoria in partnership with the State Library Victoria are currently running a campaign called ‘Libraries Change Lives’. Can you think of any way (as a volunteer or library borrower) that the library has changed your life?
Having access to the library as a child was a very positive experience for me. Nowadays, I really enjoy the links and relationships I have with people in the community that I wouldn’t have known otherwise because of my volunteer position. I am also so impressed by the wonderful friendly librarians!
Interested in Volunteering?
Please visit our ‘Volunteering With YPRL’ page and keep your eyes open for upcoming volunteer opportunities with the library. You can also visit our 'Volunteering in the Community' page for access to local volunteering opportunities.
Contact Sarah Howe, Volunteers Coordinator at 9088 3441 for more information.
Follow along with us as we feature our YPRL volunteers and share information about volunteering in your local community! #NVW2019
You can share your story about how the library has changed your life by visiting here.