I know it’s completely unseasonal for me to talk about feeling thankful when it’s not even November, but I have to get something off my chest: I am deeply humbled by the people who go through our library’s doors every week NOT to read magazines, buy an iced coffee or to take a nap, but to work. For free.
Our faithful volunteers often work behind the scenes—looking for missing books, repairing damaged items, shelving, making displays or booklists, marketing library programs, hosting language clubs and so much more. Some volunteers are able to give an hour or two every week for 6 months, while other volunteers have given the library decades of their time and talent.
Many public libraries are understaffed in these difficult times, and volunteers who contribute a couple of hours per week make such a difference in the quality of service a library can offer customers. While volunteer work cannot take the place of professional library staff, it can free staff to work on projects that normally get pushed to the sidelines.
We have one volunteer (who is also a librarian) who leads a book club for older adults off-campus. Each month, she rides her bike carrying 12 heavy large print books and then discusses the previous month’s title with a dozen seniors who aren’t able to get to the library. The staff in our department would love to provide this kind of regular outreach, but have too many constraints of day to day work to allow it. Because of this volunteer’s selfless giving, there are a dozen seniors who have an opportunity to explore books and worlds that they might not have had otherwise.
If you are interested in volunteering at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, please check out this link: http://www.carnegielibrary.org/about/support/volunteer/. Our volunteer coordinator will help you to match your time, location and talents with libraries and library departments that can best use your help.
And a big “THANK YOU” bear hug to everyone that has given your time and talents to your public library. We can’t do it without you!