Last week I decided to volunteer at a small library within The Hague. I was a bit apprehensive about the idea, but I have already spent one day there and think I will fit in well. My Dutch has been getting better and better as the weeks go on and I really need more practice with that. This also gets me out of the house more. Currently I will work a few hours a day on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The library itself is pretty small and primarily serves kids – newborns to age 12 – as well as their parents. There’s a lot of fiction books, from board books to books for young adults, and a small non-fiction section as well. They even have about 20-25 books in Turkish (as that is a need in the neighborhood) and a few shelves worth of NT2 books. Those books are used to help you learn and perfect your Dutch.
I spent the afternoon there this past Wednesday, meeting some of my coworkers. Generally you work with one or two other people during your shift. As its a pretty small library (only one main room), there is a fair bit of time when you have no patrons hanging around. Luckily, we received a shipment of 9 boxes of books, so we could spend an hour or two putting the books away on the shelf. My coworkers had a laugh when I said my first Dutch book was Dikkie Dik (just a random picture book with the star being an orange tabby cat). I still have it as I brought it with when we moved…
It’s pretty interesting to do this, as it’s 100% in Dutch. I understand my coworkers pretty well, but so far they have done a good job of simplifying their language a bit! I’m not sure that I want to stay within the library field forever (there is not that many opportunities for jobs in this sector) but for now it’s pretty fun to volunteer.