Passionate About The Public Library

. June 30, 2019.
Youth Advisory Board members Abby and Emmy Omlor making sure the teen shelves are organized correctly.
Youth Advisory Board members Abby and Emmy Omlor making sure the teen shelves are organized correctly.

There are many treasures to be found at the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library. Most are literary in nature, but some are very human indeed. The Youth Advisory Board— often referred to as YAB— falls into the latter category.

A shared love of books

YAB members value and support the library with their time, ideas and deeds. “I like being a volunteer because I get to help others and show people the library is really cool,” says YAB member Allyson Patterson, age 15.

While the number of teens involved fluctuates from year to year, there are currently 21 members. YAB is open to 7th through 12th graders from Findlay City Schools and the Hancock County school systems as well as students who are being homeschooled. Each YAB member agrees to volunteer a minimum of three hours per month in service to the library.

According to Erin Gillespie, the library’s Teen Associate and the advisor of YAB: “I couldn’t do it without their help. They keep the Teen Zone (the section of the library dedicated to young adults) running well.”

YAB members not only keep the book and media collections in Teen Zone both relevant in content and attractive in appearance, they also help out in the Children’s Department, acting as leaders for the Summer Read program. In addition, YAB members gather monthly to brainstorm ideas and discuss and decide upon library programming offered to area youth, such as movie nights, game nights, crafting sessions and informative presentations. They then help Gillespie lead these teen events.

Gaining valuable skills

According to Gillespie, YAB volunteers make new friends, develop communication and leadership skills, and nurture their love for libraries. “Students grow in public speaking skills without even realizing it,” she says. “They learn customer service skills as well. Basically, it’s a great first experience of gaining job skills.”

Fifteen year old Jackson Gangle values the character-building opportunities he has garnered as a YAB member. Aidan Jordan, also 15, shares, “I am proud to be a library volunteer. I love the library and all it does for the community. My favorite thing about YAB is the friends I have made along the way.”

For many YAB members, their experiences become great fodder for job and college applications. And when moving to college, many make it a priority to locate not only the college library, but a public library near their new residence, as well.

What do Bob Ross, alien string art and breakfast have in common?

These are just a few of the awesome programs that YAB has planned this summer at the library. To see a current activity calendar of teen programs, visit the Teen Events page of the library website at findlaylibrary.org.

Membership applications for the Youth Advisory Board of the Findlay-Hancock County Library are always available and applicants are invited to join the group three to four times a year. If you have further questions about YAB, contact Erin Gillespie at 419-434-1486 or gillespie@findlaylibrary.org.