Monday, September 26, 2005

Well Dressed Volunteers

read to a kid Volunteers. The word paints pictures of ample bossomed woman helping at the fire department next door. Blue haired Grandmothers baking pies for a cause, housewives knitting sweaters for the homeless. However, the reality is that volunteers, as helpful as they want to be, are sometimes scarier than all get out.

Today well sitting at my well appointed desk, an experience, that I will extrapolate happened today. 2 unscheduled individuals showed up wanting to offer, shall I say proffer, their services unto the hallowed halls of public wisdom.

A word to the wise, potential volunteers. Be presentable. Don't make me glad that I lock my man purse in my desk for just such occasions. Don't lend the impression that you are going to ask where the bathroom is so you can wipe the schmutz off your shirt. Without further ado: my list of musts for potential volunteers.

Some of this, arguably, is advice given to people going into job interviews. But realize, just because we aren't going to pay you doesn't mean that we will just hand out coveted volunteer positions like Halloween candy.

1. Bathe. Trust me, its a charmer in any interview.
2. Schedule an appointment. Don't surprise the library with your generosity.
3. Don't wear a light blue velour jogging suit with your thong showing over your hips.
4. Wear "job interview" apparel: translation: a shirt and tie.
5. Don't wave a form infront of my face and say "Can you sign this? I need to show my probation officer that I got a volunteer job". I don't give volunteer jobs, and please, start by telling me your name.
6. Don't say "Oh , I'll do ANYTHING". It means you have no idea what we do.
7. Bring a pen. It helps with the illusion that you at least came prepared.
8. Don't bring your kids.
9. Don't lean over my desk, I'm not a bar tender.
10. Don't you dare sigh exhaustedly when I tell you that you need to contact another department. I was going to call them. Now I'll leave a voice message.

Plus, be prepared for a back ground check, this is a public institution. If you aren't supposed to be around children, MAYBE, just maybe, this isn't the right place for you.

I do advocate that one always maintain appearances. I also advocate for washing your hands before you leave the bathroom. So please kids, do us a favor, and prepare yourself. We've done our part by being there, now you do yours.

I realize this blog doesn't apply to librarians, we would never think of being anything less than fastidious. But it does help keep the flame of attention burning - and the senses keen. Reminders are friendly. Think of this as very friendly.

moral of this blog: Volunteering is an art. Become an artist.

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