Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…











{January 5, 2011}   a darn good mechanic

I adore my mechanic and his wife. I can’t say enough good things about them. How can you not love a mechanic who has a white rabbit named Steve in the office/waiting area? Who names a rabbit Steve?

I had a meeting about 20 miles away to discuss how a non profit used their¬† fund raising and development efforts to spearhead a $150 million dollar concert hall. Yikes. After a tour of the facilities and discussion of fund raising, I was on my way home when all my truck alarms, bells and whistles started going off at once. Sounds I had never heard were blaring and booming from the dashboard…I think I even heard a faint EYE U GAH EYE U GAH…the old submarine submerge alarm…

We limped in to my minion parking place (we have two lots for staff that I fondly refer to as…the Ad-min lot and the Ad-minion lot), shut her down and finished out my day of meetings, reports and phone calls.

At the end of the day, I packed it up and started up the truck. She sounded good so far, needed some petrol, but was pretty quiet all the same, until I headed out to the service station for a good fueling. Chugging away, like the little engine that could, we pulled in to my mechanic’s lot. 15 minutes from closing, Dave and Mindy took me in as if I were in the rain without an umbrella. Mindy runs the office and her husband Dave runs the garage. Good, honest folk…Mindy drove my truck into the garage for Dave and I was left alone with Steve, feeding him dried apple slices and watching him scamper around his picket fence pen in the office as I called out his name.

Ten minutes later, I find out the alarms were all about my alternator, and in the most complex of auto-mechanic words and jargon, Dave tells me it is “kaput”. In sincere and full apology, Mindy tells me they won’t be able to work on it but could get to it the next day.¬† No problem! They are such good people.

Steve’s knows he’s got it good too. He was ready to call it a day as well. He goes home with them every night in a pet carrier and comes back every day they are there.

I hope you are as lucky as Steve and I are to know such good honest folk.

 

 



Is it a good thing that Court Ordered Probation and Diversion Volunteers are coming back to me to get their hours for different offenses?

Glass half empty~ They didn’t learn their lesson? Glass half full~ They enjoyed their community service the first time with the library, they want to come back.

I actually have quite a few volunteers who finish their service only to want to stay on and continue to volunteer with us. I’ve always stated to everyone I talk with on both sides, I’m not in the punishment business. I’m not going to make our Court Ordered Community Service gang clean the bathroom floor with a toothbrush. I don’t brand them with a big CS on their chests in red and march them around the library like a chain gang.

We are a public building and as a public building, who knows what secrets we all have as we come in. The one thing we do all have in common is that we enjoy the library and what it has to offer the community. Now, we have limitations…No Sex Crimes, No Child Abuse and No Theft. I’m very firm on the Sex Crimes and Abuse, but theft is discretionary. As with all volunteers, I listen to their stories. I hold an interview with everyone that wants to volunteer for at least 45 minutes. I rely on first impressions. I like respect and kindness, a good sense of humor and honesty.

I also take Felons. It’s amazing what classifies someone as a felon, but if they are coming to me for probation, I have to think what classifies them as a felon might not be as bad as it sounds. I had a young man in his 30’s who was having dinner with his grandmother. She poured him a glass of wine, he took a sip, spilled some on his shirt, and then the phone rang. Her prescription was ready at the drug store up the street. He said he’d go get it for her, pulled in to the pharmacy drive through, the pharmacist knew him and as usual practice said, be careful…he pulled out of the pharmacy, didn’t use a turn signal and was pulled over for a traffic violation. The officer smelled the alcohol, searched his car and found a prescription not belonging to him. Felony possession among other things.

I guess you can make up that story, but it’s something that can easily happen to me as if I was getting something for my dad. I gave him a chance and he did a great job and is still with us as his time permits.

When I’d sign off on the final probation paperwork, I used to say “I hope I don’t see you anymore…”, now I just tell them to be careful out there and be good. I never know if they are going to come back!



et cetera
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