Why I Volunteer (And Why You Should Too)

by Aimee Graham, Head Editor, INALJ New York State

Why I Volunteer (And Why You Should Too)

aimeeg2My first encounter with INALJ came during a summer session in graduate school; I was going to be completing my MSIS at the end of the upcoming fall semester and needed to find a professional position before they handed me that diploma. I classmate knew my unusual situation and recommended this site to me. I emailed Naomi about subscribing to the mailing list, and before I knew it I was dissecting a monstrous PDF (editor’s note: lol, it really was a beast).

Shortly thereafter, Naomi House was changing the format of INALJ and was looking for Head Editor and Assistant volunteers; since I spent a great portion of my day using those resources I figured it was only appropriate to sign up. As time went on I felt invested in this opportunity; not only did I find both of my current positions through INALJ, but I thought of all the other recent grads and unemployed information specialists and how this little thing I was doing may positively impact their lives.

I never expected to have such a fantastic experience by searching for employment opportunities as the Assistant Editor of INALJ Florida; I figured it would be a twice weekly gig to fill space on a resume but in reality it has strengthened skills I previously had in addition to learning new ones. With INALJ, as both the Assistant Editor of Florida and the Head Editor for NYS, I have:

  • Strengthened my research skills and techniques. Navigating through various websites while using different key terms. In addition, sometimes you have to think outside the box.
  • Time management. Whether getting in your research, updating your page, or making a blog, you learn to balance work, home, and volunteer obligations.
  • Gained supervisory experience (as Head Editor) by managing 3 assistant editors.
  • Networked. I have met and communicated with many of volunteers of INALJ, including Naomi. In addition, it has been a great conversation piece at interviews, affiliation meetings, etc. People are genuinely curious to know more about what INALJ is about.
  • Occupied space on my resume during my job search. It showed that I was doing SOMETHING in regards to the field, regardless of how limited.

These are just a few examples, but the experience has been amazing. I have received a few emails as well, from some who have found employment through my efforts and those of my fellow volunteers; I cannot begin to describe the pride and joy I feel knowing I helped someone succeed in their career search and hopefully make a positive impact in their lives.

INALJ is currently in need of volunteers, and I can guarantee that the experience gained is more than worth the stick shock of a one year commitment. If interested, make sure to contact Naomi at ineedalibraryjob@gmail.com. Happy hunting!