How I Really Feel about Volunteering

by Sarah Roark Schott, Head Editor, INALJ Arizona
previously published 11/1/13

How I Really Feel about Volunteering

SarahRoarkSchottINALJThere have been some great articles here at INALJ about the pros and cons of volunteering, and why you should or should not consider doing it. Overall, I think everyone here acknowledges that volunteering can be a great asset to your library/archive career. Not only do you have the chance to meet potential employers and colleagues, but you also gain valuable skills not learned in library school. I mean, who doesn’t just love to volunteer, right?

Ahem. Can I tell you guys something I have only ever admitted to my husband and really close friends? Sometimes I cannot stand the thought of volunteering! I admit that I have been known to drag my feet and complain when I should be on my way to that archive or museum I volunteer at. There are also times when I get myself so stressed out about trying to find the time to get my paid work and then unpaid work done that I have mini breakdowns. Sometimes it just seems like it isn’t worth all my time and energy to volunteer, but let me tell you guys something else… Every place I have ever volunteered has been so grateful for my help and expertise as an archivist!

I can honestly say that I have never regretted a single time I have volunteered at a library, archive or museum. Even after all the bellyaching and complaining I do before I leave home to volunteer, I always feel so relieved and glad that I donated my help to institutions that need it the most. That feeling of genuine helpfulness is the best, and that is why even through all the drama and complaints I continue to volunteer my time.

  3 comments for “How I Really Feel about Volunteering

  1. Jeannine
    November 4, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    I know for how much I feel like my volunteering at area public libraries here in the Twin Cities Metro Area should have materialized into even part-time paid work, I do enjoy what I do here at the St. Paul Public Library (organizing several years of newspaper clippings between 1917 and 1948 of the St. Paul Winter Carnival) because it serves as an outlet to help me through the mundane work I have been doing to make sure my bills are paid. For how much I woul dlike to find paid employment in librarianship, I feel it’s still worth doing since I don’t have the background in archiving and it helps to still stay involved (in some way) in librarianship.

  2. Courtney Baron
    November 1, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    I sometimes drag my feet to my docent meetings or tours I give at the museum I volunteer at, but I ALWAYS leave with a smile on my face and excited about something new I learned or feedback from museum visitors, etc. It’s one of the best things I have going on in my life. :)

  3. November 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Well, I haven’t actually gotten around to lining up some volunteer work, yet. Just the thought of getting it going seems exhausting right now. Your post was just what I needed today. Thanks.

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