Tag Archives: volunteering

Frequently Asked Questions about Library Volunteering

Last month, we celebrated both National Library Week and National Volunteer Week.  The fact that these two national celebrations always coincide is apropos; I always say “If the library is doing it, volunteers probably do it, too.”

Talking up our volunteers’ accomplishments is one of my favorite things to do, but I realize that there are still a lot of misconceptions about volunteering in general and volunteering for the library in particular, so I thought I’d use a blog post to address them all at once.

Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions I get about Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh volunteers.

How many volunteers does CLP have?

According to our official stats, in 2015, 1,428 volunteers contributed 36,717 hours. That’s an in-kind value of more than $850,000.  About 400 volunteers are active in any given month.

So, do volunteers just shelve books?

Shelving, cleaning and shifting books is important work, and volunteers do help with that sometimes, but make no mistake, it’s far from our primary volunteer role. In fact, we’ve had to turn volunteers away who want to shelve books when we don’t have shelving work available!

Andrew Card-negie

You can even volunteer to be Andrew Card-negie. Seriously.

Volunteers at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh teach global language classes, record audiobooks for visually impaired patrons,  spend hours each week reading with young children, plan special events,  promote library programs and services, facilitate book clubs and lots, lots more.  Look around at all the cool things happening in your neighborhood library — there’s a chance that volunteers can get involved.

Level with  me, are all library volunteers old ladies?

First of all, old ladies are awesome and do really meaningful work to support our community. Secondly, no! We are lucky enough to have support from volunteers of all ages.  One of the things that’s great about the Library is that it’s a meeting place for lots of different folks, and that’s reflected in our volunteer demographics.

We try hard to structure volunteer roles so that there’s a variety. For people who are retired or who have flexible work schedules, we do need daytime help. For people who are busy and would prefer to have evening or weekend options, we’ve got that too.  We even have special opportunities just for teens.  For people who aren’t able, for whatever reason, to make an ongoing commitment, we have one-time and occasional chances to help out with a special program or event.

Bottom line? If you’ve counted yourself out because you think volunteers are one “type” of person, reconsider!

Can I complete a required number of volunteer hours?

Maybe! We do provide lots of opportunities to volunteers who are looking to complete required community service hours, whether they are mandated by school, court, a scouting organization, a religious group or some other entity. We do, however, have to work with realistic time constraints, and sometimes we just don’t have the work available. I always suggest checking out VolunteerMatch.org or PittsburghCares.org as a way to find an opportunity that works with your schedule and deadline. It’s always good to get started on hours as soon as possible — volunteer roles might be more limited than you imagine!


Volunteers from AmeriCorps and Gamma Sigma Sigma (University of Pittsburgh) volunteering in April 2016

Can my group volunteer at the library?

Maybe! It depends on your group size and how flexible you are with your date and volunteering location. We don’t like to make up “busy work” for volunteers, but we are thrilled to have groups help when we have projects, which is often. We have quite a few opportunities for groups to volunteer this summer, so get in touch at 412-622-3168 or volunteers@carnegielibrary.org.

What is the “Friends of the Library” and how is that different from a Volunteer?

The Friends of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is actually a separate, all-volunteer nonprofit organization whose primary focus is fundraising and supporting Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations.  All “Friends” are volunteers, but not all volunteers are “Friends.”

If you’d be interested in volunteering to fundraise through book sales or other events and projects, contact Volunteer Services or ask a librarian at your neighborhood library whether that location has it’s own Friends group.

I have a great idea for a class or program I’d like to facilitate at the library! How can I make that happen?

We are thoughtful about adding new programs to our libraries — trying to make sure we balance the needs and wants of our communities with the resources we have available, including space and staff time.  If you’d like to go through the application process, contact the Office of Programs & Partnerships at 412-924-0063  x. 1411 or at  programsandpartnerships@carnegielibrary.org.

Ok, so how do I start volunteering?

The easiest thing to do is fill out a volunteer application form or apply directly to an open volunteer position. If you’d like to talk over your options or you have more questions, get in touch at 412-622-3168 or volunteers@carnegielibrary.org.

Thanks for your support!



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Do the Dinosaurs Come Alive at Night?

Today’s post is from Deanna, a volunteer in the Music, Film and Audio Department.

Teaching at the Carnegie Museums is fun. I enjoy taking students through the museums and teaching in the classrooms hidden beneath the Museum of Natural History. Giving them a learning experience they cannot normally receive in their regular, school classroom is a rewarding adventure. When we travel through the Jurassic Period of dinosaurs in the museum, many students notice that there are glass panels with books behind them. Regular patrons of the library know that from the book side of the glass, you can look down into the museums and see the Diplodocus (right) and Apatosaurus (left). These are the two main dinosaurs that trigger the question: “Do the dinosaurs come alive at night?” I say that they will have to ask security because I am not at the museum at night.


I tell students about how special it is to have a public library as vast and impressive as the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Depending on the age of the students, I receive various responses to this. Some students want to tell me about their library at school. Others want to know how many books are in the library (Ed. note: There are more than a million items in the collection at Main!). Once in a while, however, I get a student who says something to the effect of, “So what?” One student asked, “Why have a library when I can just go to the bookstore and buy the book?”

I smile at this, knowing that I used to be like this kid. When you’re ten years old, what is the difference between a library and a bookstore? They both have books, right? One has books that you take home to read and never worry about again because you’ve already paid for it. The other has books that you take home to read but you must take care of the book and you bring it back or else you pay a fine. To a ten-year-old, this seems like a common perspective.

The parents and teachers participating in my museum learning experiences smile too, but not for the same reason. Many of these adults love to learn and they want to instill that love into their children, hence why they are in the museums in the first place. They also know what anyone who pays bills or student loans knows: These books are free! When that ten-year-old asked what is so great about a library, his parent immediately piped up, “Don’t you see? Someone else bought those books for you so that you don’t have to! Instead of worrying about a fine, you just need to remember to bring it back!” The student said, “Oh,” in the way young people do when they understand what you mean but haven’t really changed their minds.

Lately, I answer these types of questions about the library in a slightly different manner. I ask the student what their favorite books or TV show is or their favorite movie. I get a lot of the same answers: Harry Potter, Star Wars, The Hunger Games, and a range of DC and Marvel comics and their movies. Then, no matter what the student answers, I tell them that they can probably find that comic book or movie or book in the Library.

Students are smarter than me though. “What if it isn’t in there?” they ask. I respond, “They can ask another library to borrow it.” Again, students are smarter. “What if they don’t have it?” “Then,” I say, “they will buy it for you to keep in their collection, and all you need to do is show them your library card.”

By now, it starts to dawn on them: Libraries are cool. All those books for free, and when they hear that they can also check out DVDs and CDs, their eyes light up in a way that all educators live for. Sometimes, I mention dinosaur books and books on mummies. That generates excitement and a nice transition for us to return to the class topic.

After class, I stay to answer questions from the adults. They ask more challenging questions regarding the museum and the class I taught, but they also have library questions. They want to know where they can pick up a library card and often, when I’m leaving the museum or volunteering for the Carnegie Library, I see them pick up a library card and take their child to a place in the library with materials that interest them both.

Remember that ten-year-old? The one that didn’t think libraries are cool? While leaving with his new dinosaur book that he had to return in a few weeks, he muttered a thank you to his dad, who was holding Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, before saying: “Okaaayyyy, I guess libraries are cool.”


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Community Advocate and Outstanding Partner Nominees – 2015

Every year, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is lucky enough to benefit from working with hard-working, supportive partner organizations and from the efforts of dedicated library patrons who are engaged in impactful projects. At our Annual Public Meeting, we take some time to recognize these efforts by recognizing one Community Advocate and one Outstanding Partner with a special award.

One blog post cannot fully encapsulate the meaningful work these folks have performed, but we thought this could be one avenue for spreading the word about their impact. So, here’s a quick look at this year’s nominees; If you’re interested in seeing who won, or you’d just like a an update on the state of the Library, feel free to join us at our State of the Library meeting on March 15, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. at CLP-East Liberty.

Community Advocate Award Nominees

  • Kelly Ammerman is a teacher with PPS CITY Connections. She has brought her students to CLP – Allegheny for the past year to participate in programming and to connect students with library resources (Life After High School, the Labs) in accordance with CITY Connection’s mission: Preparing students to live, work, connect and contribute in the community. Kelly and her students even made a video to show the impact of the library in the lives of students.
  • Norene Beatty has been a community activist for many years and is a founding member and secretary of the nonprofit Pittsburgh’s Old Stone Tavern Friends Trust, Inc. She has been studying the ledger from the tavern (1793-1797) in the Oliver Room at CLP – Main for the past several years and has found over 60 veterans of the Revolutionary War among many other of Pittsburgh’s founding citizens. Norene then gives free lectures primarily about the Whiskey Rebellion and why it is so important to save this iconic structure in Pittsburgh’s West End. She is directly embodying the mission of CLP by studying important local history, disseminating this history to the public and helping to not only save a historic building but also to revitalize a community.
  • Jim Cunningham is a host of a classical music show on WQED, and a longtime patron and advocate for the Music, Film, and Audio Department CLP – Main. His primary contributions have been as a head of the Friends of the Music Library and his above-and-beyond promotion of Music performances and programs at the Library. His advocacy has truly been long-term multidimensional.
  • 2015 marked Joe Farinacci‘s 10th year volunteering his time and talents at the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. By now, Joe is an old pro at recording and editing audio books; so much so, that he actually has helped train staff and other volunteers on the equipment and procedures. Joe was profiled on Eleventh Stack last year in this post.
  • Jon Forrester has shown an extremely strong commitment to literacy and learning by offering a Dungeons & Dragons program for teens at CLP – Brookline for more than four years. This interactive storytelling and role-playing program cultivates creativity, teamwork and cooperation, and problem-solving skills. As one of the program’s teen participants put it: “To say that Jon’s only quality was ‘dependable,’ he’d be solid gold for that alone. Witty, clever, consistent, he’s willing to put in the extra effort like updating websites, keeping everyone on the same page, and that really makes him inclusive, and anyone can get on board with that. He’s done the best he can for everyone possible.”
  • Tanya Frederick sewed the Pride Community Quilt, a community art project made at PrideFest 2015. Attendees were asked, “What book changed your story?” and answered the prompt by writing titles of books on squares of quilting fabric. In the months afterward, Tanya worked for more than twenty hours sewing the cloth squares and quilting the fabric, making a beautiful community quilt that will be hung at CLP locations and outreach sites.
  • Since starting as a library volunteer in 2014, Margaret Glatz has been one of the most reliable and enthusiastic volunteers we have. We appreciate Margaret’s willingness to travel to multiple library locations, helping with everything from outreach to children’s programs to language learning
  • Officer David Shifren saw a need for more community connection, so he started up a weekly Chess Club for kids at CLP – Hazelwood. The chess club has become a real staple of after school programming, where he teaches children critical thinking and problem-solving skills through chess. His work was even profiled in this piece in the Tribune-Review.


    Has the city looked a little brighter to you this winter? Thank Adele Speers.

  • Adele (Delli) Speers was the driving force behind CLP’s adoption of the Pop Des Fleurs project. As a Fiber Arts Guild Member, South Sider and library user, she wanted to see our neighborhood bloom! She urged us to have the test installation in January 2015 and worked tirelessly for our Library—making flowers, promoting, planning, volunteering her time at workshops, brainstorming and most importantly, making us all more creative and inspired. The project would not have happened without her enthusiasm and confidence.
  • Caren Surlow has a lifetime of library use under her belt, and has a special soft spot for CLP – West End, where she helps with a multitude of children’s programming and serves as a dedicated member of the Friends of the Library.

Thanks to the committee’s efforts, the 2015 Teen Alternative Homecoming was the most successful yet!

  • We couldn’t imagine a more group of teens more worthy of recognition that the Teen Alternative Homecoming Planning Committee (Kyra Bingham, TaeAjah Cannon, Ana Carballido-Dosal, Leah DeFlitch, Jayne Juffe, Mae Knight, Katina Motta, Kendal Nasiadka, Paige Pegher, Gabriele Spokas, Oliver Sterling-Angus, Sophia Kachur, Maya Best, Abby Redlich), who fully embraced the mission of providing a fun, engaging community experience centered around books and learning, donating over 60 hours of their time in planning meetings, obtaining activity supplies, preparing the event space, assembling programs, selling tickets and distributing promotional materials. Their work attracted 279 teens from all over Pittsburgh to the 2015 Alternative Homecoming event.

Outstanding Partner Award Nominees 

  • The AARP Foundation Tax Aid Assistance Program provides free tax preparation for low-to-moderate-income taxpayers, with a focus on those who are 60 or older. Year after year, their collaboration with CLP – Squirrel Hill has assisted more than 1,000 of our community members, helping them to file for rebates and earned income credits, and avoid insta-loans and interest charges.
  • Bat’s Barber Shop near CLP – East Liberty is the location of one of our first “Community Collections” – books that are free to check out even for community members who may have compromised library cards or a spotty history with the Library. The staff of Bat’s have been great advocates in encouraging community members to read and engage with the Library, and have been hands-on in helping with book selection. As the nominator put it, “The shop uses every opportunity to teach the East Liberty community and visitors to the barbershop about what the Library offers, and the importance of literacy and continued education.”
  • Community Kitchen Pittsburgh has partnered with CLP to promote the value of the Library to participants and encourage use of Library services and programs to aid in job and career searching and as a source of entertainment and education.
  • Dreams of Hope has been instrumental in supporting LGBTQ teens in and out of the Library. The organization has assisted with multiple programs and events, increasing the number of teens who see the library as a safe, welcoming and nurturing place.  We have seen an increase in the number of teens checking out material with LGBTQ themes, and credit our well-supported Gay Straight Alliance groups for a portion of that increase. (We also loved that one of the teens involved Dreams of Hope wrote a play about a librarian who gives resources to an LGBTQ teen!)
Summer Reading Extravaganza

EQT has been a long-time presenting sponsor of the annual Summer Reading kickoff event, Extravaganza.

  • EQT has been a significant supporter of literacy programs at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh for more than a decade.With contributions exceeding $450,000 over the years, including as the presenting sponsor of the annual Summer Reading Extravaganza kickoff event, EQT’s dedication to CLP has provided many opportunities for thousands of children to make strong connections with the Library. This ongoing support is helping the Library to be among our community’s leading organizations that are ensuring the success of our region’s young people.
  • The Family Center Team at the Allegheny County Jail helps by acting as a conduit between the jail, families of inmates, and the library.  Their willingness to explore and welcome us as outreach partners has allowed CLP to reach 493 children and 977 caregivers/parents with library programming, including book giveaways, within the jail in 2015.
  • Lawrenceville United (LU) has demonstrated a deep commitment to further both the mission and vision of CLP, partnering with CLP – Lawrenceville on outreach and programming to children and seniors. LU was also an integral partner in the Historic Lawrenceville: Stories from our Neighbors oral history project. LU acts as an intermediary between community members, their interests and needs, and the other businesses, nonprofits and schools in the neighborhood. LU clearly recognizes the importance of partnering with the Library in order to achieve their goals — and, thereby, the goals of the community at large.
  • For more than 10 years, United Black Book Clubs of Pittsburgh has worked to encourage literacy and highlight the library in the community. Their work with CLP – Homewood includes supporting  numerous events, bringing African American authors to the library branch to meet their fans, hosting the annual African American Read-In during Black History month, and more.
  • Veterans Place has hosted CLP for computer assistance sessions and fiction discussion for the enrichment and benefit of its residents. Program director Cathy Komorowski has also facilitated the placement and promotion of a Community Collection at the Veterans Place facility where residents and day-program participants can borrow high-quality books onsite. Because the Library welcomes everyone, and is considered to be a “safe space” for many homeless veterans in our community, a partnership between Veterans Place and CLP to bring the Library to them and encourage them to visit our locations was a natural fit.

We are unbelievably proud of the work represented here. These advocates and partners have shown in a multitude of ways their belief in libraries as a vital part of community life in Pittsburgh.  We sincerely thank them for all they have done to bolster the library’s mission and make a real difference in the lives of our friends and neighbors.



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You’ve got a Friend in Me: Reading Buddies at the Library

This summer, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh launched a brand-new volunteer program called Reading Buddies. The program was developed out of an initiative called Hazelwood Reads Together, and here’s the gist: trained volunteers are stationed in the library to read to and interact with kids, one on one or in small groups.

We know that kids succeed when they read, and that having a caring mentor doing the reading can be a big part of helping children develop a long-lasting love of books and reading. What we were also happy to discover is that volunteers love the experience, too.


Reading together at CLP – Hazelwood

One volunteer, Maddie, explains it like this: “I decided to become a Reading Buddies volunteer because I was working full time at a job that I was getting nothing out of … I decided to check out the library’s website and see if any volunteer opportunities were available. I saw the Reading Buddies post and was instantly drawn to it. I have always loved working with kids and I knew I would be a good fit. It became the highlight of my work weeks. My day would go faster knowing I was going to leave work and do something I actually enjoyed while giving back at the same time.”

Another volunteer, Sally, agrees: “The kids love to read, create puzzles and create stories … It’s nice to give all of the kids attention that takes them away from the computers.  The kids are appreciative of the time and I appreciate the opportunity to engage with them in a fun, relaxed way. Reading Buddies is enjoyable for everyone. ”

Besides having the opportunity to give back by encouraging youth literacy, volunteering to read with kids helped some volunteers reflect on mentors who played a role in their own learning.

“My fourth grade teacher used to read my class a chapter of a book at the end of each day. He almost always picked one of Roald Dahl‘s books,” Maddie remembers. “I was always a pretty big reader, but when I started hearing these stories I was hooked. I still think of that teacher today when I see someone reading a Dahl book or see the old copies on my book shelf. I think of how my teacher did a great job of picking books our class would connect with, and I try to do that as a Reading Buddy.”


A kiddo relaxes in the reading nook at CLP – Hazelwood

Adrienne, a Reading Buddy and a twenty-year veteran of teaching, recalls: “As a child, I always enjoyed being read to or reading with someone.  Some of my favorite books were: Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein,  the Dr. Seuss books, the Paddington series by Michael Bond, The Box Car Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner and books by Judy Blume.”

Since June, twelve Reading Buddies volunteers have spent more than 150 hours volunteering to support early literacy at CLP – Hazelwood.  As library staff, we appreciate and recognize the dedication of those who give their time and talents to support young minds in this way.

We’re currently recruiting Reading Buddies volunteers for three different Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations:  Hazelwood, Hill District and Sheraden. If you’re interested, you can apply online or contact us for more information.



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Helping Hands in CLP-Sheraden’s Garden

I’m not a gardener.

Not even close.

Oh, I pretend to be. Every spring, just when we start getting a few 70 degree days, I check out some gardening books from the library. I have fantasies of growing a kitchen garden with abundant basil and oregano to last me into the winter.  I’m going to grow lavender and make sachets for Christmas presents. I have no problem photographing the progress of the daffodils in my front yard to show off to all my Facebook friends.

But here’s the reality: I don’t do any of those things.

(Except photograph my daffodils to show off on Facebook.)

Melissa's daffodils

Yup. Planted every bulb myself. (Or, y’know, maybe the previous owners of our house were … I dunno … master gardeners? Or something?)

I don’t know what my problem is. Maybe it’s a dirt thing.  Books are a lot cleaner and less labor-intensive, you know?  They don’t need to be watered. There aren’t any bugs –

– all right, now I’m just making excuses.  Recently, students in the horticultural program at Bidwell Training Center put me to shame. They volunteered to plant the garden at CLP-Sheraden and they also did some tremendous clean up work. This is a photo of the project in the very beginning stages, but the result was fantastic!

CLP Sheraden - Garden

It almost made me get the urge to plant my own garden.

You know, right after I finish this chapter of my book.

Special thanks to the amazing volunteers at Bidwell Training Center for their incredible work on CLP-Sheraden’s garden! You did a tremendous job and the Library is so grateful for your time and hard work!

~ Melissa F.

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Any Volunteers?

The Music Department is very lucky to have a long line of dedicated and diverse volunteers. They have provided us with helpful and valuable services throughout the years. Our volunteers range widely in age, interest and talent, from high school kids to retirees, including superb interns from the Pitt Library School. In recognition of National Volunteer Week (April 21-April 27), I would like to highlight some of the projects from the past and present that volunteers have undertaken in this department.

  • The Oral History of Music in Pittsburgh (OHMP) collection consists of over 300 interviews conducted by a long-time Music Department volunteer
  • The Pittsburgh Archival Material collection contains many finding lists created by a particularly extraordinary volunteer
  • The input of information from card catalogs onto computer files to be made into online indexes
  • Helping with our semi-annual music sale
  • Laminating, repairing, and re-creating CD covers
  • Checking inventory lists for missing, misshelved, or miscoded library materials
  • Creating shelf signs with call numbers to help navigate the narrow volumes of scores

Shelf tags help!

No task is too small or too large for our volunteers to handle!

If you are interested in volunteering at the library, please see this link: Volunteering at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.


A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under which they will never sit. — Greek Proverb


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Give and we shall receive

I know it’s completely unseasonal for me to talk about feeling thankful when it’s not even November, but I have to get something off my chest:  I am deeply humbled by the people who go through our library’s doors every week NOT to read magazines, buy an iced coffee or to take a nap, but to work.  For free. 

Our faithful volunteers often work behind the scenes—looking for missing books, repairing damaged items, shelving, making displays or booklists, marketing library programs, hosting language clubs and so much more.  Some volunteers are able to give an hour or two every week for 6 months, while other volunteers have given the library decades of their time and talent. 

Many public libraries are understaffed in these difficult times, and volunteers who contribute a couple of hours per week make such a difference in the quality of service a library can offer customers.  While volunteer work cannot take the place of professional library staff, it can free staff  to work on projects that normally get pushed to the sidelines.   

We have one volunteer (who is also a librarian) who leads a book club for older adults off-campus.  Each month, she rides her bike carrying 12 heavy large print books and then discusses the previous month’s title with a dozen seniors who aren’t able to get to the library.  The staff in our department would love to provide this kind of regular outreach, but have too many constraints of day to day work to allow it.  Because of this volunteer’s selfless giving, there are a dozen seniors who have an opportunity to explore books and worlds that they might not have had otherwise.

If you are interested in volunteering at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, please check out this link: http://www.carnegielibrary.org/about/support/volunteer/. Our volunteer coordinator will help you to match your time, location and talents with libraries and library departments that can best use your help. 

And a big “THANK YOU” bear hug to everyone that has given your time and talents to your public library.  We can’t do it without you! 



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A season for giving

As the holidays come upon us, certain words and phrases come to mind—“giving,” “sharing,” “weight gain,”  “debt,” “rampant consumerism.”  We each do our best to focus our thoughts on others—on loved ones and family, those less fortunate than ourselves.   Yet I think I can safely say that many of us can’t help but wonder how we’ll be able to afford our holiday gift-giving this year.  Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to cut costs, like making or baking creative gifts.   I’ve heard of some families volunteering together, helping those less fortunate as a way to combat consumerism and remember that the holidays are a time to think of others.

Pittsburgh has its share of need and organizations who are trying to meet needs.  These organizations are always looking for volunteers.  Pittsburgh Cares supports 229 nonprofits and specializes in connecting people with causes they are already passionate about.  There are a number of holiday-related projects, like wrapping presents for children or serving holiday meals to residents of senior care facilities, but other projects can be selected by various criteria–including location, “impact areas” like literacy, homelessness/hunger, animal support, children and youth, the environment, and whether the projects are good for first-timers, families or teams.   There is even a calendar that can be browsed–and it is dense with fascinating possibilities.  Each entry describes the type of work that will be done, what skills are needed for the project (usually none), how many people are needed and how many people have signed up already.

If you live outside of Pittsburgh (poor you!) don’t despair.  There are national organizations who serve to connect volunteers with those who need their help.  ServeNet.org is one such organization.  Prospective volunteers can search organizations by location, and then causes served, population served, skills, special events and age range.  VolunteerMatch.org is connected to over 61,000 member organizations.  One can search by keyword and distance to a specific zip code.  Results are separated according to date, interest area, and location.  There are even organizations that help people volunteer virtually if they are have constraints that make other types of service difficult.

Volunteering isn’t for everyone.  But if you would like to give back to your community, get out there and remember “It is more blessed to give than to receive”–any time of year.


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Get involved!

If you are at all like me, you often wonder if there is something you could be doing to make a difference in the world. Whether it’s on a local or a global scale, there are so many issues that need to be addressed. Many may need to be tackled on an individual level, while others need networks and communities of people to work together to improve things. At the same time, as human beings (and citizens, or workers, or job-seekers, or…), most of us also need those networks and communities for our own good, in addition to their benefit for the common good. How, you may ask, do I do that? How do I build those networks and have an impact in my community and in my life?

Well, first, you can come see Tom Baker, author of Get Involved: Making the Most of Your 20s and 30s, speak at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Main Wednesday evening, September 10, at 6pm. In addition to being an author, Tom is Executive Director of Healthy Teens, Inc. and president of the board of PUMP (Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project). He will tell you all about ways you can develop leadership and networking skills that affect your life, and the lives around you.

After that, you can check out one of these items:

  • Better Together: Restoring The American Community, Robert D. Butler And Lewis M. Feldstein
  • Community Service: Be a Positive Force in Your Community
  • Revolution of the Heart: A New Strategy for Creating Wealth and Meaningful Change, by William H. Shore
  • 50 Ways to Help Your Community: A Handbook for Change, by Steve and Sharon Sloan Fiffer
  • Giving Back: Connecting You, Business, and Community, by Bert Berkley and Peter Economy
  • One Phone Call Away: Secrets of a Master Networker, by Jeffrey W. Meshel
  • Networking Magic: Find the Best – from Doctors, Lawyers, and Accountants to Homes, Schools, and Restaurants, by Rick Frishman and Jill Lublin, with Mark Steisel
  • -Kaarin


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    Celebrating National Library Week

    Did you know that it’s National Library Week? Yes, it’s true – a whole week to love your library even more than you usually do. May we recommend some ways to celebrate?

    Do you remember the first time you fell in library love?  It happened to me as a pre-teen.  I was already a pretty serious library user, staggering to and from my house (uphill, both ways!) with armsful of books.  It was, however, the serendipitous discovery of The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death that made me the fine, upstanding individual I am today. Ten pages in, I realized that there was more on heaven and earth, Horatio, than I’d dreamed of in my philosophy.

    I am, of course, a wee bit biased.  How did you get to know the library?  Tell the world by leaving us a comment, or sending us an e-mail.

    –Leigh Anne

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