It’s National Volunteer Week and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the approximately 100 volunteers who contribute their time, effort, talents and good humour to assist at the State Library.
This year’s theme for NVW is Volunteers Everyone Counts, so I thought I’d give an overview of who our volunteers are:
Officially the youngest is 15, unofficially seven (she volunteered with her aunt for the Better Beginnings Carnivale). The oldest is 85.
They speak Persian, Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian, German, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Hungarian, Italian, French, Indonesian, Spanish and, no doubt, more.
One has been volunteering here for 25 years, three started last week.
Their experiences are deep and varied. From our volunteers I can find someone who will write and analyse public policy, manager databases, team lead childcare centres, make great coffee, lead intercultural studies, teach computing courses, understand medical jargon, manage your investments, deliver a baby, take photos and archive them. We have zoologists, law students, post graduates, urban planners, union organisers, students of every level, library officers, library technicians and, yes, librarians.
They volunteer for a variety of reasons: to keep up their skills, to network, to gain experience and build CVs, for social interaction, to be around a wide range of people, for a sense of fulfilment, for professional development, to practice their English, to explore new career opportunities, to build applications for Masters and doctorates Degrees, to help the public, for the enjoyable environment, to watch films from the State Library collection, for exposure to WA history or a passion for family history.
They volunteer directly for the State Library, for the State Library Foundation and via the WA Genealogy Society.
Their time commitment may be sixteen hours a week (the maximum recommended) to once every three or four months for one of our events.
This week we celebrate them and their contribution. For the 2010-2011 financial year volunteers gave almost 8000 hours to the State Library. Because of them and their ‘value-adding’, our clients received increased service and greater access to our collections.
To our volunteers – thank you!