Katie Bareham: Volunteer with the Doorstep Library Network

barehamA guest post by Katie Bareham

The Doorstep Library Network is all about books and children and bringing the two together in homes on council estates throughout Hammersmith and Fulham. Through teams of volunteers, we read to the children and encourage them to pick up a book and relish in the world of the imagination.

Established as a charity in 2010, over 280 children now benefit from our projects operating on five council estates in H&F.

Each week during term time after school, home reading volunteers visit families and provide one on one reading sessions with each child, in addition to offering them a lending library. As relationships develop with the families, volunteers encourage the parents to take up their own reading time with their children, sharing together the pleasure and enjoyment offered through a book.

Children benefiting from individual reading sessions increasingly become keen readers and develop the self-confidence to aim higher in their reading pursuits. What sets Doorstep Library apart from other reading projects is the fact that we are direct into the homes of low income families where books are often absent and reading for pleasure is a foreign concept, associated exclusively with school and “work”. By offering reading in the homes, we are encouraging the children to celebrate books and embrace reading as a pastime.

doorsteplibThe impact we are having on these children is undeniable and hugely positive:

“I’m always excited when you come. Whatever books you bring, there is something I love. Thank you so much for your visits.” Megan, aged 7

“I’m so happy you come to us because there are these book fairs at school but my mum would never buy us any as she thinks we don’t read them. But since you have been giving us books she now buys us some from the book fair too.” Alex, aged 9

Feedback from parents:

“You’ve really helped her to love books. Her dad doesn’t really read, not more than a newspaper, and I used to read but somewhere along the way when I was a child I got put off. Now, unless it’s a really thin book, I won’t go near it. It’s great that she loves books at a young age.”

“After meeting you, it’s made me want to join the library! I read with my children a lot but I don’t usually do what you do – asking questions about the story, etc.”

Feedback from volunteers:

“The DLN is a beautifully run charity – concerned as much for its volunteers as for the children and families it serves. As a volunteer you feel cared for, supported and trained, which in turn enables you to develop valuable relationships with the families based on stability, trust and respect.” (Harriet, Dec 2013)

Volunteer with us:

We are always on the lookout for committed, enthusiastic people to join our team of volunteers.

If you are:

– Keen to share your passion for reading

– Available from 3.45-6.30pm Monday, Tuesday or Thursday during school term time

– Willing to commit to volunteering with us for 1 year

Please do get in touch. Alternatively, do contact us to discuss other ways of supporting our charity.

www.doorsteplibrary.org.uk enquiries@doorsteplibrary.org.uk 020 8870 1476

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