On Being a Librarian

Trends, Achievements, and Perspectives

Thing 22: Volunteering

Have I? On a small scale. Piffle really.

I have volunteered to:

• take a shift at a trade show supporting a library
• hand out flyers highlighting new library services at locations throughout a city
• attend workshops and focus groups discussing and reviewing library services
• bowl for a fundraiser
• make vats of vegetarian lasagne for a retreat

Might this level of volunteering advance my career? Probably not but it helped me build positive and lasting relationships with my peers and I am blessed to have some close friendships as a result.

Volunteering might boost our self-confidence, yet I suspect that as rewarded as we feel at that moment, we are well aware that we need to be paid for our time to meet financial demands. That might agitate our levels of confidence.

Did my volunteering help me develop new skills and provide me experience? Heck no. I tolerated rejection when at a mall handing out flyers to unwilling and possibly rude shoppers. It might be suggested I developed greater tolerance for others. I learned how not to organize and design a display at a trade show. I found that bowling is not for those with weak of aiming abilities. I developed an aversion to lasagne.

While I understand the values inherent in volunteering, there requires some critical thinking when choosing where, when, and with whom volunteering is an advantage.

What was my most rewarding volunteer experience?

For several years, I was Secretary for the Waterloo Region Nordic Sports Club and then President for three more.  That was an amazing experience.  I learned about Robert’s Rules for meeting proceedings, writing grant proposals, motivating board members, and negotiating with city officials.

For a short time, I walked dogs on my lunch hour.  These dogs were housed at the SPCA and I believed that the walk I was enjoying with them might make their time at the SPCA more tolerable.  That experience soothed my spirits.

You see, volunteering has many facets, intentions, and levels of involvement.  Whenever I am asked to volunteer now, I say “Yes, and this is what I can do . . .”, rather than an immediate response of “No”.

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This entry was posted on 11/07/2011 by in Web 2.0 and tagged .
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