Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…

{December 9, 2009}   Reaching Out

I read in the newspaper that a library on the South side was cutting hours. I hate to see that. They were cutting hours to the community because of the economy. That also meant, staff hours would be cut, but the same high quality of customer service would have to stay the same. Probably no raises, more work, more handling of complaints, more and more with less. I don’t know about your libraries, but because of the economy…we are busier than ever! More people are using our computer labs, borrowing our books, reading our subscriptions, checking out our AV collection. Our dvd’s and cd’s seem to be going out more than the books are as of late.

I just couldn’t let another library fall by the wayside without reaching out.  So I sent an email saying “hey…this is what I do. I work with volunteers.” Believe it or not, good volunteers can get us over this hump. We have a National Call to Service going on People! And it’s for this reason, not to cut hours and have people lose more jobs or get less wages, it’s to help us keep things open, keep people employed and paying bills, keep services running and keep things “normal”.

If your library is one of those closing earlier, draw on volunteers to help! If you can run the library at the same level that you were doing without them, maybe you were heavy on the cream and gravy. I know it’s something that people don’t want to take a look at but it’s there. Some people are afraid of volunteers taking their jobs. We’ll if that’s the case, look at the staff and see how they are working. Volunteers don’t need to be looked at as the enemy, many of them can save us, but we choose not to include that part of it.

Most of the public libraries are being run by volunteer boards aren’t they? We need to look toward the volunteer to help us through this. If we think outside the box, we’ll be ok.


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