Volunteer Story: Joe Easterly

“Volunteering has changed my life in that it’s esteem building and it gave me focus, purpose, and perspective “stated Joe. “Being ill and isolated during the pandemic was hard.”
Joe Easterly is a Digital Humanities Librarian at the University of Rochester. He is a graduate of the University of Buffalo who happened upon his career by chance. He stated, ‘I was just at the right place at the right time.” A catalog professor at library school inspired him to consider the possibilities of connecting digital and literacy together.
Recently Joe underwent a Liver transplant and had to be isolated to prevent any infection. Being isolated is hard because it doesn’t allow you to connect with others. That is why Joe decided to come LR. He wanted to share his digital knowledge and skills that he acquired with others and help them learn. Joe became a LR volunteer in March of 2021. The only concerns he had about volunteering was catching a virus which would affect his transplant. So, he decided it would be best for him to just be a one-to-one tutor.
For the past 8 months, Joe has been working one on one with a student from Afghanistan. He has been able to help her learn all the components of a computer, how to access and understand her email, how to navigate google maps, how to navigate through different sites, and much more. While working on those aspects he has also been able to help her expand her English as she needs to learn new digital vocabulary.
“Be optimistic when you can, and when you can’t, have compassion”
To Joe, digital literacy means the ability to understand what you are looking at and identify what something is when working with technology. Digital Literacy is an area where he has a lot of expertise, and he enjoys translating and connecting people with technology to explore.
“As a volunteer you are setting your own agenda with a student, but the student is the one who runs the show. A willingness to be flexible, openminded, creative, and patient are needed when working with someone. Make sure to stay connected with your agency too because they can give you the best advice when it comes to tutoring and can provide materials to make sure your student is successful.”
When Joe isn’t reading or volunteering you can find him in the kitchen baking baguettes and pastries. He also loves to play the Harp and is quite good.
“Jack of all trades, master of library science”
Thank you, Joe, for sharing your digital knowledge with our students!

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