Pam Talarico

Excellence in Volunteerism Award Winner

OC Community Resources
OC Public Libraries
Laguna Beach Library

Pam Talarico & Rebecca Porter

Pictured from left to right,
Laguna Beach Library
Volunteer Pam Talarico &
Children's Librarian Rebecca Porter.

Pam Talarico, a former kindergarten teacher and grandmother of three, is making a significant difference in her community as a volunteer with the Laguna Beach Library’s Pea Pod Academy, a storytime program devoted to babies, toddlers, and their loved ones.  Since becoming a volunteer in April 2010, Pam has breathed new life into the program by sharing books, songs, and hands-on crafts with the library’s youngest patrons.  Her previous teaching experience adds to her success in working with children in a library setting. Pam’s storytimes resonate with young patrons, and she is skilled in channeling their energies and holding their attention. She amazes staff with her creativity and commitment and inspires moms and caregivers to return each week.

Over the years, Pam has dedicated more than 130 hours on site at the library branch to the Pea Pod Academy; however, that represents only a fraction of the time she actually spends helping caregivers introduce pre-reading skills to their young children.  To prepare for each storytime theme, Pam selects from the library's collection of books and music as well as her personal collection.  She often stops by the library early in the week prior to the scheduled storytime to pick up titles or assemble a craft project.

Throughout the year, Pam searches her home office to uncover an array of supplies for craft activities and take-home keepsakes that relate to the weekly storytime theme, such as picture frame ornaments from puzzle pieces and reindeer spoons that hold a candy treat. To celebrate Dr. Seuss’ March birthday, Pam created Cat in the Hat snacks from marshmallows and red frosting.  The tiny striped hats definitely added to the celebration!

According to Children’s Librarian Rebecca Porter, “Pam’s volunteer endeavors include being an ambassador for our community.  She addresses the need for our community to have a local library that enthusiastically engages very young children."  Pam's enthusiasm is evident each Thursday morning as dozens of participants gather around to hear stories and sing songs.  The excitement in the children’s voices can be heard throughout the library followed by a quiet hum as families take time to chat and work on arts-and-crafts projects.  At the end of each Pea Pod session, the babies and toddlers emerge from the children’s section of the library with their artwork, happy in the connection that's been forged through reading and language with their library and with the wider community.

Pam's talent, commitment and energy have contributed tremendously to the success of the well-attended Pea Pod Academy storytime series even during times of limited staffing.  Her efforts have provided the support needed for the library’s small children's department to continue to present three unique storytimes each week.  During this time of tough budget constraints, Pam’s volunteer participation is helping the library meet its goal of improving patron participation by offering a variety of exceptional programs.  Her devotion to the children and families served by the Laguna Beach Library is amazing, and her thoughtfulness, hard work, and initiative are worthy of our highest recognition.

Thank you and congratulations to Pam Talarico, recipient of the 2012 Excellence in Volunteerism Award!

Click here to find out how you can volunteer with the OC Public Libraries!