On Saturday, November 10, 34 students from several area colleges and universities gathered for a New Student Orientation held in the Skyline Room at Parkway Central. Students were welcomed by Debi Leonard, Work Study Program Coordinator, and Paul Walchak, Acting Director of Volunteer Services. Students received valuable information and specialized training which they will then be able to take with them to use in their various positions in the Free Library system. While in attendance they were treated to a delicious continental breakfast and lunch.
Each year students from Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, Community College of Philadelphia, University of the Arts, Delaware County Community College and several others apply for off campus work study positions at the Free Library as a part of their schools’ mandatory community service initiative. Students are interviewed and then placed in positions in departments and branches that are often related to their major course of study. These students provide beneficial support to the staff in areas such as the LEAP Program, as Computer Aid Assistants and as support assistants in programs such as the Read by 4th Campaign, Neighborhood Outreach, the Rosenbach and One Book, One Philadelphia.
"These students come to us from a wide range of backgrounds and possess a variety of skills and interests", said Mrs. Leonard. "Often, they don’t realize the types of opportunities that we have available to them within our library system. Some of the students have majors that naturally fit with one of our departmental needs. For example, we had a Temple Graduate student come to us who is majoring in Music History. The Fleisher Collection, at Parkway Central, proved to be the perfect departmental placement for him to share his knowledge while providing invaluable support to Director Gary Galvan and his team."
Mrs. Leonard stated that she receives numerous requests for work study employee assistance throughout the year. Though she does her best to provide as many student workers as possible, the overall need for support exceeds the number of students available. “I will continue to provide as much assistance as I possibly can to the branches. I know how much these talented students’ time, skills and commitment mean to our staff and the communities that they serve”, stated Mrs. Leonard. The future of this program looks bright. As Philadelphia area college students continue to hear more about our meaningful program the more popular it will become.