Tags: #librarian #judaica #volunteers
I don't usually like anonymous comments, but the comment below has nothing wrong with it. I did fix the spacing and correct typos. I do thank the writer for both agreeing and disagreeing. My intent was to spark discussion.
There is quite a lot I disagree with in here - and a lot I agree with. I do not criticize the rabbi for not knowing how a library works or what questions to ask. If libraries appear to run by magic, that's because of our professional skills - and those underlying skills and structures shouldn't be obvious. Credit to him for spotting that it doesn't work at the moment and for wanting to make improvements.
I hold up my hands and admit to being a volunteer, having retired from a long career as a professional bib services librarian. It's hard to give up the habit. I would never, ever, volunteer in an institution which should be paying professional staff - public libraries, academic libraries, government and corporate libraries should all be employing qualified staff and paying them appropriately.I absolutely do not condone volunteers being used to paper over the gaps caused by under-funding or because professional skills are not recognized or valued. And I have no respect for professional librarians who act as volunteers in institutions like these. However, there are other types of libraries which would close if volunteers did not keep them open and those libraries still have a valuable role to play for their communities.
I take no payment for my time or my skills, but I do get travel expenses - my one demand was that I should not be out of pocket as result of volunteering. But because I do not get paid does not mean that I am any less committed. I really am very weary of hearing the same criticism of volunteers, that you can't count on us. I am sure that some of us are unreliable, but so are plenty of employees.