Some years ago I volunteered at the Orem Public Library. I loved it: volunteers received a nifty i.d. badge, free movie rentals, and waived late fees. I got to help people with the internet, straighten shelves, sit at the welcome desk, and do other menial tasks that made me feel like maybe someday I could become a real librarian, a long-time aspiration of mine.
Now I volunteer at the local Slimey Valley library, and oh, it is different: no nifty i.d. badge, no free movie rentals, no waived late fees, and no training, because we don't do anything that requires training. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, considering the size of the library, but I do like to hope.
We don't even volunteer in the actual library. Volunteers spend their time in the "Friends of the Library" bookstore tidying shelves, pricing the books people have donated, and then shelving them. Shelving involves determining the general subject of the book and sticking it wherever there is room in that section, since only the fiction is alphabetized, and only loosely at that.
When I asked if I could volunteer on a different day if I knew I couldn't make it to my assigned day, I learned there are no assignments: come in whenever you want, stay as long as you want, and call it good. This disturbs my brain for some reason.
I've decided to stick with coming in two hours before opening on Fridays, which is what I've been doing so far. At least I get to walk in the door that says "employees only" and I don't have to try to squeeze around customers browsing in the excessively narrow aisles of the store.
I usually head over to the children's section of the library after volunteering in order to organize some shelves there--it helps me feel like I'm actually doing something useful. Ha! I think. You may want me to volunteer in the bookstore, but I'm going to volunteer in the library too, whether you like it or not!
Perhaps the time has come to go back to school. Then I wouldn't have to volunteer at all.