Collage of books on shelves and a woman reading a book | Photos submitted by employees and volunteers at Books R Us

Collage of books on shelves and a woman reading a book | Photos submitted by employees and volunteers at Books R Us ()

Volunteering can be such a fulfilling activity. Every other month, we will be highlighting a new organization or event for those who are looking to learn more about the services and resources available to them as well as for those who are looking to give back to the community.

This month we are featuring Books R Magic on Ramstein Air Base. I interviewed volunteers Sophia M. and Brianna C. and was sent written responses from volunteer Caitlyn J. and store manager Sara, and they shared some insights into what it is like to work in the store.

Brianna has been at the bookstore since August 2022. A book lover, she “got off the plane…and on the second day went straight to the bookstore” upon moving to the Ramstein area. Caitlyn, a DoDEA worker, found herself at the bookstore to occupy her free time during summer 2022 as it “would be the perfect place because I could earn store credit to fund my book purchasing addiction.” Sophia has been with the bookstore for almost a year and was drawn to volunteer there because of her “love of books and literature.”

Volunteering with the bookstore allows people to not only give back to their local community but also provides them with a stronger skill set and role to play. The shop provides older teens such as Sophia and Brianna a chance to develop job skills, such as pricing items, putting inventory in the system, shelving items and customer service. Brianna noted that on an average Tuesday, 20 to 40 books come in for the volunteers and employees to sort through and price.

When asked about the most fulfilling aspects of volunteering, Caitlyn wrote, “I loved giving recommendations to customers who were just starting getting back into reading and seeing how excited they seemed about their new books.” Brianna said, “I think it is the community. I love seeing people come in and get excited about talking about books.” Sophia agreed with Brianna: “You always just find some common interest [with the community].” She added, “I think it’s a really beautiful thing to get to experience.”

When asked about dealing with a constantly changing volunteer base (thanks to military life), Sara wrote, “While it is fantastic that we get to meet so many different individuals from all over the world, it is bittersweet since our beloved volunteers eventually leave us. It makes us cherish the time we get with each person. It also can be difficult at times when we go months without any volunteers when we need the extra help.”

Whether you can be there once a month, once a week or once a day, the bookstore can use your help. Sophia espoused how it’s a “great environment” to work in and wanted to give a shoutout to everyone who works there because of all the hard work that goes into “making it a comfortable environment for all book lovers.... I think it is just a special place." Volunteers can earn store credit for every hour they spend volunteering with the store. Teens 15 and older receive $7 an hour and adults receive $8 an hour. (However, those seeking volunteer hours for an organization/program cannot receive the store credit). Volunteers need to be 15 or older, have transportation to the store and a love for books. Those interested in volunteering can go down to the store and speak with an employee, check out their Instagram or Facebook pages or go to their website’s “How to Volunteer” page.

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