Looking for library volunteers
By Amanda Clark, adult programming supervisor
Volunteer: (n) A person who performs a service willingly and without pay. (v) To offer (oneself or services) for some undertaking or purpose.
According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, 64.3 million Americans volunteered through an organization in 2011. Nearly 8 billion hours of service were recorded. The value of those donated services totaled $171 billion.
These numbers seem colossal. That is, until you realize that little more than a quarter of Americans (26.8%) engage in volunteer service, as noted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Still, nearly three-quarters of Americans do not. Why is that? I’m not sure, but I can tell you some of the reasons I hear regularly: “I am not an expert. I have no expertise or amazing skills; therefore, I am not qualified to volunteer.” Or, “I am afraid it will take too much time – my life is already filled to the brim with activities. I really don’t need another project, task or mission.” And then there is “I’m concerned it will cost me money. I want to help your organization, but I don’t want to feel pressured to donate to it.”
What is it, then, that overcomes those concerns and ultimately results in someone becoming a volunteer? Very simply – they are asked. If an individual cares about an organization or a cause and someone asks them to help out, they likely will. All those other concerns can be worked out.
Well, I’m asking, and who doesn’t love the Library?
All those reasons (excuses?) I mentioned above for thinking you can’t volunteer … I’ve been there. I get it. I think sometimes that if I learned to say, “No” then things would be much easier. And, maybe they would be. I’d surely have a lot of extra time to … um … I’m having a hard time filling in the blank … um … keep up with my laundry. But the fact is, volunteer work is extremely rewarding and much more fun than laundry. Not only will volunteering connect you with others who have the same interests, some studies even suggest that volunteers suffer less from depression and have increased self-confidence. Maybe that’s because you feel all warm and fuzzy when you give a little back.
In the very near future, Boyd County Public Library will be launching a full-scale call for volunteers. Job descriptions will be posted on our website detailing what we think we need. I am going to ask you for a favor, though: think outside the box. Just because you don’t see it on our list doesn’t mean BCPL can’t use it.
You are the Library’s largest resource. Your knowledge and your skills are exactly what the Library, and your community needs. Maybe you know 15 ways to tie a bow tie? Or you would like to show others how to pickle peppers? Perhaps you could come and speak about how times have changed since the 1950s, when you grew up, and you realize there’s a whole generation of women (like me) who were never taught to sew or make a baked Alaska, and you want to right that wrong. The possibilities are endless. Each of you has something you can “offer for some undertaking or purpose.”
Please, think about it. Decide what it is you have to offer to a place you love for the benefit of your community. Then contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org or at (606) 329-0518, ext. 1140. I can’t wait to hear from you.