We have a brand new library, with a lot to do, I am in the midst of organising the student volunteers, we have a core group of about 10 parents who come into the library to help every Thursday, and I have another lady who is not a parent who comes in for a few hours each week. I have just recently had another few people expressing their wish to be a part of the library volunteer group.
I have a dilemma with volunteers in that I want to make sure what they are doing is meaningful to them, that they feel they do not need me to show them what to do all the time, and that they are enjoying what they are doing and the time they spend with us is meeting their needs as well as ours.
The big group of Mum's who come work on covering books, and other mass jobs like label covering etc, they like to do this as it is a social time for them, they like to do things that are low thinking which allows them to chat and catch up.
The non parent lady who is coming in is working on subject headings for the picture books at the moment, and relabelling the picture books as we are about to restructure the organisation. This allows her to just come in when it suits her and just get on with the job.
The student volunteers will help with shelving, displays, cleaning up and circulation. They require training which will start this week.
My dilemma is that although volunteers reduce the workload, I do usually have to spend quite a bit of time planning for the time they are coming in, showing them what to do, and making sure they are doing it the way it needs to be done, and, I want to make sure that my own assistants are not put out of a job. We are at the moment at a crossroads - we have got past the catch up and frenzied organisational phase of setting up the library, and now are wallowing in the transition phase of looking forward and planning for the future.
I would like to hand over the volunteer co-ordination to one of my assistants, however, I am not sure their English is up to a standard which will allow them to do this is in a manner which would suit all concerned. I want each of the different volunteer groups to have specific projects to get on with, so they do not need to be instructed each time they come in. My dilemma is finding these projects that need to be done that do not require a knowledge of library cataloguing and other intricacies that need to be explained in detail.
If we do not have books to cover, or subject headings to input - what else can I get volunteers to do? What do you have your volunteers do?