Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…











For all the Probation and Community Service Hour Volunteers out there, I respect you and understand that humans make mistakes, break laws and just plain ole have bad luck. I won’t make you scrub toilets with toothbrushes, and I will give you satisfying and valued tasks to complete, but just remember a few of my rules….

  • When you are doing court ordered community service, just because we are a library doesn’t mean you can dump your children under 8 years of age off in our children’s department while you volunteer
  • When you are given 15 different places to work off your service hours, contact all of them, not just the one place you want to go. Because if I can’t get you in, you may be in trouble, and its not my fault.
  • Your stress is not my stress
  • Remember I’m not the one that committed the crime
  • Also, remember, I’m the one that has a good relationship with your probation officers, I’m not going to join in and agree how unfair and how unjust they are, this includes our law enforcement and judges and our county
  • If you choose not to come, that’s your choice. I’m not the one that will be scrambling to get my hours in at the last minute
  • If you don’t come in, I’ll give your task to someone else
  • Just because you like the library, doesn’t always mean we like you
  • If you are found in violation or non compliant, it’s not my fault. I will not accept collect calls from jail to “get you out”
  • I may be “cool” but I’m not an idiot. I will dismiss you if you disrespect me or any of my coworkers…

I don’t judge our community service and probation volunteers, but I need to weigh and measure the value of their service that helps us vs. providing service to the community. This week, the balance was not tipping in my favor!



{May 8, 2011}   Happy Muddah’s Day

A friend of Nicky the Greek came in on Friday. Nicky had told¬† him that I could “hook him up” on some community service hours. I told his friend, Dino, that I could indeed help him meet his required service hours and to proceed in filling out the application. As Dino jumped through my hoops, I asked him how Nicky was doing.

Dino immediately dropped his pen and grabbed at his smart phone and started swiping.

“Nicky, it’s Dino-yous wouldn’t believe where I’m sittin, yep, she’s right here-”

Dino hands over the phone to me, it smells of Drakkar Noir, cigarettes and tagliatelle, heavy on the garlic.

“Hello? Nicky? Nicky the Greek? How are you? You staying out of trouble?”

“Yeah, my screens are clean, the baby’s due in the summa, and I’m workin’ steady. Life is good, chu know?…take care of Dino, he’s a good boy and he’ll do good work for chu.”

“Ok, well take care of yourself and let me know when you have the baby.”

I could only imagine that his baby would come out looking like him, grown up style, with eyebrows for days, and a continual 5 o’clock shadow, even if it was a girl.¬† Before I handed the phone back over to Dino, I made sure I told Nicky to pamper his lady friend on Sunday. Even though she hasn’t had the baby yet, she’s still a mom.

“Yeah…right, tanks. I always treat her like a princess, but I’ll do it extra on account of it being Muddah’s Day. All Muddah’s should be treated like princesses on Sunday…”

I woke up this morning. Stretched and smiled….and said to myself…

“Happy Muddah’s Day, Princess!”

Tanks Nicky the Greek.



{December 21, 2009}   Volunteers and Gingerbread

Our Library put on a Gingerbread House Competition. What better way to get participants then to include volunteers?

By getting volunteers to participate in library programs and events, it not only helps with statistics and numbers, but it also gets volunteers involved in a whole different side of library participation.

Volunteers come to us because they want to help or need something. I had community service volunteers build gingerbread houses as a project and they got hours for doing it. I had one young lady turn hers in and said it was the worst punishment that she could imagine!

Her’s fell apart, she had to rebake it, the roof caved in and by the time she turned it in, it was leaning toward one side! She told me that if she knew that she’d was going to do a gingerbread house, she would have waited until she was 21 to drink alcohol!

In the end, she enjoyed doing her task, we had one more house, and she participated in our event, helping with the display and judging as well.

Sometimes it’s not all putting books away, dusting or inventory. Involving volunteers in our books clubs, programs and computer classes are all great ways to increase numbers which help with our services.

Remember, be creative! Volunteers can help libraries in so many different ways. Think outside the box.



et cetera
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