Get Involved – The Art of Volunteering November 13, 2012Posted by Jen Habley in Check this out!.
Posted on behalf of Ann M. Martin, a Past President of AASL and Educational Specialist for Henrico County Public Schools
The phone is ringing, the dog is whining to go out, there is homework to be done, and it is dinner time. You know the drill. There are more things and people pulling at you than you have fingers to count them on. So, why should you volunteer time to your professional organization?
It may not seem believable; but, I am actually more organized and focused as a result of my volunteering in AASL. At the same time the quality of my library job is better than I ever imagined and the intrinsic satisfaction of accomplishing something that is greater than me is motivating. And so, consider how I PLAY, by volunteering. Then try it yourself!
P – Professional skills and Personal benefits result when I volunteer. I meet colleagues from across the country and I find collaborating with them on task forces and committees is enlightening and rewarding. I enjoy the opportunity to brainstorm ideas on large jobs that become manageable when a team works toward a goal. I find that every time I do something for AASL I take a related benefit back to my job that energizes me and inspires me.
L – Love what you do! Giving back to the profession by allocating time to work with others on AASL’s strategic goals means that you are supporting school library professionals across the country. The desire to do your best is achievable when tasks are broken down into reasonable parts. I say this because volunteer work in AASL is teamwork. My passion and love for the profession is strengthened each time I actively participate in AASL.
A - Allocating time to volunteer and still have time for fun with friends and family is absolutely realistic. I did not start out serving on three committees. No, I started with one and expanded as I felt comfortable with the work. Last week a librarian named Laura asked me the question, “How do you have time to do all that you do and still have fun?” The answer is that sometimes I just have to schedule fun into my week. This weekend I went to see the movie Skyfall even though I had spent half the weekend at a state conference and was due to send off four chapters of a book to my editor. In addition, I am co-guest editing an upcoming issue of Knowledge Quest. That movie was well worth scheduling into my day. Think about it, we are librarians. Organizing collections and resources is what we do well; so organizing work, volunteer, and fun time is drawing on our professional skills.
Y – Yes, just say yes! My Dad taught me to just say yes. When I was in high school I was offered a job at the public library. I told the person on the other end of the phone that I would think about it. My Dad was in the room and asked me if the phone call was a job offer. I said, “Yes” and he quickly told me to call back and tell them I would take the job. If I had not done that I would never have found out about my love for librarianship. So, think about a committee you believe in and offer to help. You will renew your passion for librarianship by just saying YES.