Other Benefits of Volunteering

by Nena Schvaneveldt, Head Editor, INALJ Utah

Other Benefits of Volunteering

NenaSWhen I was 14, I started volunteering at a local hospital. My parents wanted me to get experience and give back, as well as help my college applications stand out. For several years, I volunteered in order to get something in return. Even in library school, I wanted to volunteer to gain experience. It is nice to get ahead while helping others out.

After I got my first library job, my thinking started to shift slightly. I started volunteering with INALJ because that’s where I’d found my job. It was a way for me to give back. When we switched format, I volunteered to be a Head Editor, even though the prospect scared me a little bit. It was more work than I’d been doing, and some of the things were a bit out of my comfort zone.

I did it anyway, and I’ve discovered interesting benefits.

First of all, volunteering gives you an inside glimpse into an organization. You can get this by getting a job, but jobs are harder to come by. Second, volunteering lets you look into different tasks that you may not be able to do in a job. I’ve used more HTML in my work with INALJ than I have since library school.

Instead of seeing volunteering as a stepping stone to a job, I see it now as a way to explore perspectives and possibilities in addition to helping others.