Since OPL returned to in-person programming in fall 2021, Zariah Champlin, 14, and her sister Siri, 12, have provided consistent support at library events. “We primarily volunteer at Benson Branch and for the online Teen Advisory Board (TAB),” said Siri, “but we enjoy helping at other branches
and supporting all OPL events.”
In pursuit of her dream of becoming a librarian, Zariah applied to volunteer at OPL as soon as she could. She joined TAB, a library program in which members advocate, pilot programs, plan events, and give input. Teens also advise OPL on ideas for the library and promote library services at their schools. “It’s cool that we get to plan events for different people,” said Zariah. “We give ideas and suggestions, and create teen book lists.” Siri also joined TAB in hopes of a new adventure.
While volunteering in person, the sisters support branch programs by helping to set-up and shelving items in the collection. “I enjoy shelving books, it’s fun,” said Zariah. “I feel like I am already a librarian because I can do what I have seen real librarians do since I was a child coming to the library.”
Volunteering at OPL provides Zariah and Siri with a different outlet from their schoolwork and extracurricular activities. “I like helping people and engaging with the library staff,” said Siri. “They are such nice people and it’s so cool to hang out with such a great team.”
"I have had the privilege of working with Zariah and Siri since they were little kids coming to LEGO club,” said Youth Services Librarian Aura Sewell. “They ask good questions about the library and are so fun and warm. I'm so glad to have them as volunteers."
When it comes to volunteering, “Do it,” said Siri. “If you don’t end up enjoying volunteering, that’s okay, but at least try it.” If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering at OPL, visit your neighborhood branch or omahalibrary.org/volunteer.