". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

It's Called Volunteering, Not Employment

The definition of volunteering seems to have changed.

Yesterday I took Caitlin to the library to drop off a volunteer application. She is seriously considering a future in library science and would like to get more experience behind the scenes in a real library. She would also like to use her skills to contribute to her new community. While we were at the library, not five minutes went by before she was helping a patron find a book. It seems to come naturally to her: books lead to Caitlin, and Caitlin leads to books.

When the manager of the library came out from the back room to take Caitlin's application, her first question was, "How many hours do you need?" Caitlin paused, slightly confused. And then it dawned on me. The manager was assuming that Caitlin needed to fulfill a school requirement. It's common these days that high school students have to log service hours in order to graduate. I stepped in.

"Oh, she doesn't need the hours. We're homeschoolers. She's doing this because she wants to."

I thought that's what volunteering was all about: doing something because you want to serve, not because you expect to get something out of it. Silly me.


Glenda said...

Yes, I hate the mandatory volunteering requirements. And so many colleges/universities are looking for all those in applicants. Drives me crazy!

Karen Belli said...

I loved volunteering at the library when I was in high school. I loved working there when I was in college. I would love to go back and work in a library someday. Something about books and putting them in order!