The Volunteer Nation is a community of over 1,000 individuals across the world who graciously support Learning Ally’s mission. Volunteers share their talents to create human-read audiobooks and provide support in roles that help us reach the 30 million students who struggle to read. Join the Volunteer Nation in smashing the literacy divide and bring equitable education for all.
Connect with the Community!
Interested in sharing your volunteer story or writing a blog post for us? We welcome your ideas!
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
What do you do at LA?
I am the Content Acquisition Specialist/Librarian which means that I am responsible for reviewing, selecting and acquiring the books that we add to the collection as part of our Audiobook Solution. I assist with processing the books through our Production System to get them into the hands of our volunteers. Furthermore, I make sure that the book record information on our website is accurate once the books are available for download.
How long have you worked here?
I have worked at LA for 20 years.
What made you want to work at LA?
I came to LA (at that time Recording For The Blind & Dyslexic) to interview for a part-time book cataloging job in the Library Services Department back in May 1999. The Library Services Manager inquired whether I might be interested in interviewing for an open full-time Librarian position instead. At that time, I was working as a Library Specialist in the Book Order Division of Firestone Library at Princeton University and attending Rutgers to get my Master Of Library Science degree. I actually came across RFB &D when doing some research for a project at school and since I have a brother who struggled throughout school, I was immediately drawn to our mission and thereafter joined LA.
What's something most people at LA don't know about you?
I am adopted and searched for/found/met my birth mother a number of years ago.
What do you like the most about working at LA?
Through LA,I get to share my love of literature and be surrounded by books on a daily basis - and knowing that what I do every day can make a difference in a student's life.
What is most challenging aspect about your work?
Meeting the needs of our educators and students in a timely manner
What is your favorite audio book/ book if you have any?
Too many to name! If I had to pick favorites, I would say the “Little House On The Prairie” series and “The Secret Garden” when I was young and any Stephen King book in my middle and high school years. I usually have 2-3 books going at any one time.
Right now I'm reading a book about the Delaware River flooding in 1959, a novel by Kate Morton and a novel by Caleb Carr.
What do you do during your free time?
Reading (of course!), summer vacations in Maine, taking road trips (in particular to as many national parks as possible), crossword and jigsaw puzzles
What is your Favorite movie or TV series?
Jeopardy (I make my husband watch every night!), American Horror Story TV series, The Cider House Rules movie. I'm looking forward to the upcoming movie “The Goldfinch” because of course it's based on a book! Unsurprisingly, I generally end up preferring the book version over the movie version.
WOW! Learning Ally staff members are so great! What is it that makes us so terrific?
Maybe it’s our WOWs: Ways of Working. A set of guidelines for positive action, we refer to them and incorporate them into all our personal and organizational goals. By following the WOWs, we all work together to make Learning Ally a great place to work and volunteer.
Maybe you’d like to consider adding some or all of our WOWs to your own toolbox? Here they are for you to ponder:
a. Focus on customer needs as we embrace continuous change.
b. Project ahead to find and deliver on the changes that need to be made.
c. Find the meaning in the data.
d. Make fact-based decisions and remain aligned with those decisions until a new case is made and a new decision is reached.
e. Ask how we can do it better, consistently and often.
f. Display bravery and be comfortable standing up and taking an unpopular view on issues.
g. Assume positive intent.
h. Communicate truthfully, candidly, and constructively.
i. Demonstrate concern for all functions and see the organization as one.
j. Acknowledge and celebrate team efforts and wins.
k. Address issues with each other directly before taking them up with others.
l. Set clear expectations and define everyone’s role (ownership) for achievement.
m. Ensure the right people are in the room when making decisions.
n. Regularly ask for and give feedback.
o. Openly acknowledge mistakes, seek solutions, and not blame.
Some of these WOWs seem so obvious, but others maybe not so much depending on your personal background and the experiences you’ve had. Confession time: I grew up in a very negative household. A few years ago, when a member of our Senior Leadership Team told me, “Assume positive intent”, it hit me like a thunderbolt. I was stunned. At that moment, I realized all my life I had assumed negative intent, and it had colored so many of my experiences as an adult. I have been grateful to that person ever since then for taking the time to tell me that, and am pleased to see it as a part of our WOWs. Just that one WOW has had such an impact on me personally; imagine how incorporating ALL of them can create positive, dynamic change in all of us?
Pick a WOW and try it on for size. I bet you’ll like it.