Q & A with Jacob, our Co-op Student!

What are you studying, and where do you hope to work at the end of your program? 

I am currently in the final semester of my consecutive Bachelor of Education (BEd) through Nipissing University Schulich School of Education. My focus has been in the primary/junior division or kindergarten to grade 6. My undergrad was completed through Carleton University where I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Law (honours). After I am certified to teach in Ontario, I wish to stick around the Renfrew County in hopes of securing a career in the area.

What is your favourite book or thing to read? 

Growing up, I was a fan of reading fantasy fiction as well as mystery books. As a young reader I really enjoyed series’ such as Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Warriors, Goosebumps and Eragon. Today, I find myself reading more non-fiction crime, and or news articles. I often enjoy listening to podcasts about true crime or watching a range of shows such as Ozark, Yellowstone, and Ted Lasso.

What has been the highlight of your CO-OP experience?

The CO-OP experience here at the Petawawa Public library has been an exceptional experience. The staff that work and volunteer at the library are all very insightful and welcoming to the public, and myself as a library newcomer. For me two things come to mind when I think about the highlights of my experience here at the library. The first being just the opportunity to work alongside knowledgeable staff who guided me through the CO-OP experience and made it easy to enjoy coming in to volunteer each day. The second would be seeing the community of Petawawa getting so involved with the programs the library has to offer. Whether it was story time with Liz, Science with Sarah, Movie nights, Dungeons and Dragons, Pokémon Pop- Up, and all the fun that came with Cabin fever week. Each program had a great turnout that seemed to have left those involved with a positive impact.

What has been the most challenging thing?  

I was asked what the most challenging aspect about my experience in the library may have been but whenever I think about challenging it can sometimes be portrayed in a negative light, as in something you really had to overcome or a massive hurdle throughout the experience. I don’t think there was anything like that, that stood out for me other than just gaining new and different experiences as a whole. I worked alongside Sarah, the library’s youth programming technician, and she organized Dungeons and Dragons’ campaigns for teens on Wednesday evenings. This was something very new to me, as someone with no prior knowledge of how the game works, and it took some time before I understood fully what exactly was going on in the game during these sessions. I would say this was my biggest “challenge” because it had me step out of my comfort zone. In this case however, I think that this is a good challenge to be faced with.

Was working at a library what you expected? 

Working at the library was a little different than I had expected. Prior to this co-op experience I had not been a member of the Petawawa Public Library and really, the only libraries I had been in, the last 7 years, were ones that were within the universities I had been attending. I was unaware of the number of programs that the library here has to offer to children, youth, and adults. There truly is something for everyone’s interests here at the library and the program staff does a fantastic job at keeping programs fun and engaging for everyone who is participating.

What surprised you about PPL?

I was surprised with the community engagement that the library encapsulates through programming, and the welcoming staff.

What would you want the community, or kids to know about PPL?  

I would really like the community to know that the Petawawa Public library has so much to offer the community. There are not only resources available for both leisure and educational purposes, but the library is also open to taking recommendations on programs and opportunities that to offer the public in the future. On top of that, the programs run by the staff are very well prepared and have a lot to offer both adults and children in the community. Programs offered are all centered around being fun and educational.

What community impact did you have during your coop placement? 

The impact I had on the community was through getting involved. I met a lot of great community members that ended up having positive impacts on myself as well. I felt that having a male presence in some of the programs run for younger participants helped positively for interactions with the different groups of kids. The science program I ran on the importance of biodiversity seemed to be a huge success with those who participated. I created a scavenger hunt for the program with the intentions to keep it active for a period after so that when young learners entered the library there was a fun activity to partake in available at the front desk. When it came to DnD meets and Pokémon Battle Academy I was able to spend time building relationships with the participants. The Pokémon Battle Academy that I hosted turned out to be a great success and a steppingstone for the library to host future Pokémon events knowing that the interest in the community was so high.

What have you learned? 

At the library I learned new perspectives on teaching that can be carried into a classroom throughout my future career. As a teacher the resources available at the public library are endless and the staff does a great job with assisting teachers in their education endeavors. The library has so much to offer for the community and it has been an excellent experience completing a co-op with everyone here.

What would you want other teacher candidates to know about a co-op placement here? 

For teacher candidates considering the Petawawa Public Library for their co-op placement, I would want them to know about how great of an opportunity it was. The experience has been nothing but positive working with the community and staff at the library. The experience to work with the community has opened my perspective on teaching or leading programs. When running a program within the library there are a lot of similarities to teaching in a classroom, but you have a lot more freedom because you are not so much bound by the curriculum. Programs of course take ideas from the curriculum for educational purposes but since there is no assessment component for kids learning at the end of a program you are just making sure the participants have fun and have some form of learning takeaway from the program. The big takeaway for any future teacher candidates considering a co-op placement at the Petawawa Public Library is that it is unmatched to anything else. The experience gained here at the library for myself will be incredibly valuable for my teaching career. It is not only a lot of fun being involved with the library community, but it has been crucial to my personal development as a future teacher.

What was was a typical shift like for you? 

A typical shift varied for me dependent on what is happening program-wise that day. I could be in the office creating book lists for specific themes of the week/month, or program planning with Sarah. The fun shifts at the library however are the ones where I got to help with running programs like the DnD Guild, Science with Sarah, Pokémon Battle Academy, or class visits with Liz. The Petawawa library strives to ensure that programs meet the community’s wants and needs, which often entail a lot of preparation. Luckily however, the staff that I worked alongside throughout this experience were always willing to help with any questions or uncertainties that I may have had which made for a positive work environment.

Throughout the time I have spent here at the library I created several “staff book lists” that consist of different themes dependent on the needs of the community. Most of the lists I prepared were targeting younger readers to be more involved with learning at the library. I also selected books for specific themes such as Black history month, and Freedom to Read Week. Searching the aisles of the library as well as the online catalogue can be time consuming when you are looking for specific topics so these lists help pinpoint valuable resources to look for.

Finish this sentence: The library is…. 

The Petawawa Public library is a gateway to the local community. The library makes a valiant effort in bringing the community together by ensuring the focus is kept on the communities’ interests. The library has something to offer for everyone from children to adults and is always welcoming continuous feedback to work and improve community engagement.


Published by Petawawa Public Library

The history of the Petawawa Public Library can be traced back to 1973 when what is now known as the Town of Petawawa consisted of two separate municipalities: the Village of Petawawa and the Township of Petawawa. In 1997, with the amalgamation of the Township and Village, the new Town of Petawawa became home to the “Petawawa Public Library”. Today, the Petawawa Public Library continues to grow. It employs full-time and part-time staff and continues to rely on the help of loyal volunteers to serve over 7000 active members.

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