SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Growing up, Jailene Betancourt lived across the street from her local library and found a love of books and reading at an early age.
“My parents started bringing me [to the library] when I was about four and then they started letting me cross the street by myself when I was eight,” said Betancourt, who has served as a part-time library assistant for children’s services at the South Plainfield Public Library since last fall.
“I was that one kid you could not get out of the library, especially during summer reading. I would come home with like a hundred books and [my parents] would be like ‘You are not going to be able to read all of these!’ and I would [say], ‘Yes I am! I need to get all the points I can get for the prizes!”
Betancourt, who was raised in Bound Brook, began to volunteer at her library when she was a sophomore in high school and landed her first job there when she was just 15 years old. Following graduation from Bound Brook High School, she went on to attend Berkeley College, Woodbridge Campus for criminal justice.
She has worked in library services for the past seven years; in addition to her part-time position in South Plainfield, Betancourt is currently employed as a full-time library assistant.
“I can't get enough apparently!” she said, adding, “It’s a 12 hour day, [but] it’s very exciting. I love my kids at the Plainfield library and I love them here!”
At the South Plainfield Library, Betancourt helps to plan programming pertaining to community events with the police department, the fire department, and EMS. as well as assists with storytimes. One of Betancourt most popular programs is a bilingual storytime where children of all ages are invited to attend to hear stories and songs presented in both English and Spanish.
“It’s a great way to bring Spanish to the kids. Certain parents were actually trying to teach Spanish to their kids so it really does help [with that]..,” she said, noting that her next bilingual storytime session will be held on Thursday, July 26 at 6:30 p.m.
For Betancourt, the children are what she loves most about her job at the South Plainfield library... It's just the best thing to see them so happy and smile and laugh during all the programs that we do. [It] really makes my day.”
Betancourt feels it is the programming – those offered and the time put in to organize and run an event – along with the staff that makes the South Plainfield Public Library special.
“What makes a good library program is a staff because if you are not enjoying what you are doing, the kids are not going to enjoy [what they are doing]. The programs [here] are special because of the amount of time and thought we put into them. “We don’t just cut out crafts and call it a day. said Betancourt, adding, “At the end of the day, it really is for the kids. You have to have fun with it. I am always like a kid when it comes to our programs.”
For more information on the South Plainfield Public Library and upcoming events, visit http://www.southplainfield.lib.nj.us or call (908) 754-7885. You can also follow the South Plainfield Public Library on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/southplainfieldlibrary/?ref=br_rs.
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