One of the institutions we tend to take for granted is our local library. However, most of our libraries are under-funded and in great need of volunteer help. Following are some suggestions about ways you can help at your local library. Let me know if you have others to add to the list. If any of these sound interesting or if you have other talents to offer, please give your local library a call.
- Internet docents will assist library users with connecting to the Internet, basic operations of the graphical browser used by the library (often Netscape), help locate specific sites/URLs that the user wants to visit, make suggestions for those curious about the net. Some basic computer maintenance may be involved as well.
- Repair books to extend the lives of the libraries’ resources.
- Shelving books is pretty much self explanatory.
- Delivering books to seniors and housebound persons. Operation Homebound and similar projects need volunteers to help with the delivery of books, magazines, large print, and tapes to persons of all ages who are ill or physically disabled or who cannot get to the library. This work may include the matching of appropriate books for the homebound person and getting to know that person.
- Shelf Reading where someone adopts a shelf section and basically keeps it in order. Choose your favorite subject.
- Video Tape checker/rewinder – someone has to do it!
- Storyteller for the children’s section of most all libraries.
- Bookwasher is what they call those, armed with paper towel and squirt bottle, who clean off the covers of books.
- Friends of the Library is an organization always looking for help with booksales and planning special events.
- Artists are always in demand to create posters for special events, sign and graphics for the library.
- Clerical work may not be glamorous but its necessary.
- Flash! Sue Rebro of the Moline (Illinois) Public Library doubled our list with the following additions:
- Index the obituaries from your local paper.
- Cut out items for story hours.
- Clean up and weed the area around the library.
- Help inventory the library collection.
- Assemble new library card packets.
- Offer to organize a book discussion group.
- Keep the tax forms in order at tax time.
- Send for the free material available from each state’s travel bureau.
- Set up a drive to encourage travellers to bring back phone books (not stolen) from their travels.
- Dust the computer screens and keyboards.
- Help with mailing, writing, collating, and stampitn the newsletter.
- Call your local librarian for the remaining 77 ways you can help your library.
How to access a public, college, university, or special library near you
The information above can be found on the official website of Libraries (99 Ways to Volunteer At Your Local Library). For more details about the organization and to find out how you can volunteer, please visit their website: http://jobsmart.org/resource/library/index.htm