‘Young readers build future leaders’: Park Hill student works to build up young readers

Anna Turnbull, Editor-In-Chief

“To be successful in any career you will need to know how to read,” said Torin Stephens, a student at Park Hill High School and employee of the Mid-Continent Public Library. 

Stephens went through an extensive interview process and held a passion for reading, making him applicable for a library assistant position.

“My job is amazing. I love getting to help provide access to vital resources that helps the community I serve to grow. I love getting to meet new patrons and hear their stories,” he said. 

Stephens is dedicated to his work in growing literacy rates, committing both his time and energy to a cause he believes is making a difference.

“I work an average 12-18 hours a week,” said Stephens. “I haven’t seen any effect on my schoolwork, though.”

Though he is the youngest employee at his library branch, Stephens sees his age as an advantage, not a setback.

“Currently at the location I work I am the youngest employee. It’s kind of neat to be the youngest. I think it helps me connect with young readers.”

Stephens began the job with one purpose: promoting literacy to young learners. 

“Helping young readers find books they will love and spawn a newfound love of reading is by far my favorite part of my job.”

The library has provided him with the necessary skills for future employment and success. 

“It has really promoted my employability skills. I think having this job has helped me with life skills like having effective time management and persuading people to do something, like read.”

For Stephens, helping people who visit the library is more than just pointing them at a row of cluttered shelves, it is an opportunity for him to give them a glimpse into his passion for literacy.

“When someone approaches me and asks for help, I love to help them find what they are looking for,” said Stephens. “I love to share books that have won awards or are nominees, it is a great resource for many who need a good book to read. I also love to share books that I have enjoyed in the past. I am an avid reader.”

Stephens tries to share his passion for reading with his classmates, teachers and the community as a whole. Anyone who steps foot into the library is a lover of literacy in the making.

“I love to give people the tagline of ‘young readers build future leaders.’ I promote it all over my school and the library. I feel that it’s true and it encourages younger kids to read, which is so important to me.”