Fall at Western

IMG_1552The campus is looking lovelier than ever as the leaves change into fall colours. Whereas Calgary has already had snow fall more than once, here snow is no where in sight—so far! I’ve also just applied to graduate and, with less than 2 months left of my final semester, I’m really trying to savour the last few weeks of being in this magical land called ‘graduate school’. So to celebrate this time I’m trying to walk around campus and explore places I’ve never gone before as much as possible.


Volunteer Management for New Librarians Workshop

ImageI was fortunate to be able to present a workshop on Volunteer Management for the GRC last week. It was a great experience to share some of my work experience with my fellow MLIS Candidates.

Here are my top takeaways from the presentation, for people who want this gist in 60 seconds or less:Christine Pinkney

  • Volunteering should always be mutually beneficial to both the library and the volunteers.
  • Volunteers are motivated by something other than money, so you need to be honest with and know what that motivation is and capitalize on it. If their motivation is experience for their resume, make sure they know you can give them a reference letter after they’ve accomplished a certain goal or length of service.
  • Job Descriptions are essential for the role you want volunteers to fulfill. Volunteering should be treated as Human Resources because that is literally what it is! Similar rules and processes should apply to both.
  • Your organization should know the difference between what roles are paid and what can be volunteer. In libraries a quick rule is operational services are always paid, value-added services can be volunteer positions. What is operational and what is value-added? Ideally, this should be clear in your organizations mission, vision, and goals. Ultimately that question is up to each library to decide.
  • Risk Management is key to a successful volunteer management. This means a clear job description, honesty with potential volunteer about their role, reference check, (usually) police check, (often) skill checks, training, and ongoing support. If librarians do their due diligence when hiring volunteers, then you have done your best to ensure a good placement.

Thanks again to the GRC for putting on this presentation.