New things (Or: Volunteer work)

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.

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Categories: Working & Volunteering | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “New things (Or: Volunteer work)

  1. This is great! I also did volunteer work when I came to NL and I think it’s one of the best ways to get “into” the system, the language etc. There are several libraries (also from the many international schools) in the Hague area where you could apply if you’re interested.

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