The HCT-Dubai Women’s campus (DBW) Library and Student Life department collaborated seamlessly to create a series of worthwhile on-campus volunteer opportunities for DBW students.
The ‘DBW Volunteer at the Library’ initiative was introduced in March 2017 due to the high demand from students who requested for opportunities to work on campus and gain real life work experience through training and assigned tasks.
Currently, more than 100 students have signed up for the initiative and volunteer in the library, during operating hours of 8am to 6pm, Sunday to Thursday.
Student volunteers have the flexibility to work any time, any day, and any number of hours per day, within the library opening hours. Students can work a maximum of 25 volunteer hours in the Library. The program teaches students lifelong learning skills through role play, Q&A, simulation, demonstration and on-the-job training.
Rupa Kapitzki, DBW Librarian, teaches student volunteers how to conduct research tasks, circulation tasks like weeding, shelving, shelf reading and inventory, customer service tasks at the reception desk and monitoring students throughout the day to maintain library rules, create instruction sheets for library procedures.
“We are trying to instill a volunteer culture in an environment that is part of the students’ daily routine. This experience in the library empowers the students to gain lifelong learning skills and gives them the confidence to venture out in the real job market in future upon graduation. It also gives them research and problem solving skills which will benefit them during their college life and later in their professional and personal life,” Rupa said.
Students who learn fast and perform as per expectation are then selected to train the new volunteers through leading small tasks – under the Librarian’s supervision. Through regular Q&A discussions, the librarian checks student volunteer work, solves problems, encourages students to take leadership and ownership of small assigned tasks. Student volunteers also recommend books to develop the collection. They recommend innovative solutions for library processes/procedures to improve on services.
Maryam Abdulla Alsharhan, DBW student, indicated that she learnt the process of organizing books at the library, and the whole experience was useful for her research courses. “While volunteering at the library, I found that we have additional online resources available at HCT. This will be helpful for all students for when we do our research projects. Through this opportunity, I also learnt the methods of shelving at the Library and various other tasks performed at the Library circulation desk,” Maryam said.
Student volunteers also learn that the library is a place for everyone, each one of us in the community are responsible to take good care of the library and library assets. Good library habits are taught and maintained inside the library so that students can take pride in their work.