Here’s a way you can help sick kids — and add “troubadour” to your resume.
The Brooklyn Public Library is seeking warm-hearted Brooklynites for its Reading Troubadour program, which sends literary-minded volunteers to pediatric clinics across the borough to read and hand out complimentary books.
“Whenever somebody walks in handing our free books, the kids light up,” said Carrie Banks, a supervising librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library.
Volunteers for the program pledge themselves to supporting child literacy by visiting borough clinics twice a month for two hours each visit, where they hand out free books for kids ranging from newborns to teens. Even adults up to 20-years-old can take home a free book, Banks said.
The troubadours also read aloud to kids and parents sitting in the clinic’s waiting room, turning the forboding process of waiting for the doctor into a delightful afternoon.
“The clinics are very tense places,” said Banks. “You don’t know what’s going to happen, you wait for hours — maybe you’re getting a shot — and then somebody comes in a reads you a story and it’s suddenly a different world.”
The program is designed to support childhood literacy by encouraging parents to read to their children — something that makes all the difference when it comes to learning those ABCs.
“We know that reading aloud to children is the single most important thing we can do to help them learn to read,” said Banks.
The program may be for the kids, but the volunteers say they get as much out of it as the tots.
“It’s so rewarding seeing the kids responding to the books, and to have this natural curiosity to read,” said volunteer Frances Maclean. “I’m going to keep doing it as long as I can.”
Anyone interested in volunteering to be a Reading Troubadour can call Brooklyn Public Library at (718) 230–2406, or complete an online volunteer application by going to misc.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/volunteer.