A View From the Stacks: Volunteers Make it Happen

Column by BERNADINE GOLDMAN
Assistant Library Manager, Los Alamos County Library System

Los Alamos County Library is very lucky to be able to draw on our diverse and talented community to reap the benefits of a very active volunteer program.

Our capable and dedicated volunteers support the library in so many ways! Here’s what our volunteers do:

  • Shelve books
  • Tutor students
  • Clean and resurface audio and videodiscs
  • Mend books
  • Send books out on Interlibrary Loan
  • Create indexes (we’re working on a project to index the obituaries in the Los Alamos Monitor
  • Maintain library history scrapbooks
  • Select new books for our collection
  • Create finding aids, such as our new notebook with pictures of our circulating art collection
  • Run some adult programming, such as our film series, poetry gatherings, and local author talks
  • Collect and dispose of our recycling
  • Help with marketing, both via flyers and online
  • Run errands
  • File cards, maps, and microfilm
  • Sort book donations
  • Take care of our shredding
  • Keep the shelves in order
  • Maintain our Los Alamos local history file
  • Record our Customer Comments
  • Monitor the library art gallery
  • Create displays
  • Help to select and catalog our foreign language collection
  • Run the Friends of Los Alamos County Libraries Bookstore

Volunteer Barbara Lindman in the stacks at Mesa Public Library. Courtesy photo

Without our volunteers, we would still offer core services such as books and audiovisual materials to check out and computers to use, but would not be able to offer as much variety in the collection, and would have many fewer programs for both children and adults.

In the past year, we were lucky enough to have over 100 volunteers who contributed over 3,000 hours.

Volunteers come to us at various stages of their lives. They may be retirees with great job skills who still want to make a meaningful contribution to the community. They may be teenagers who want to gain job skills so they can build their resumes and start their working lives, or who would like to highlight volunteer service on their college applications and continue their education.

They may be people new to the community, from all over the world that bring their expertise, language, and culture to help us respond to the international community that forms a large part of Los Alamos.

They may be current college students needing to do a practicum, or perhaps scouts needing a service project. They may be involved community members who love reading and want to gain an idea of the behind-the-scenes workings of the library.

We’re happy to talk with them all and to try to place them in a meaningful volunteer job.

We even have a volunteer program for children ages eight and up. Our program for this summer is already at capacity, but registration will start again in August for after-school volunteers. Youth volunteers may work at preparing craft materials, decorating the library, creating flyers, and more.

Sometimes we can also place volunteers at our White Rock Branch, although the volunteer program in White Rock is smaller. And let’s not forget the possibility of volunteering for the Friends of the Library, which operates our beloved used bookstore, where all sales benefit our library and other libraries in Los Alamos and northern New Mexico.

If you think you might be interested in volunteering at the library, contact Assistant Library Manager Bernadine Goldman at 662-8254, or mailto:Bernadine.goldman@lacnm.us.

As the library is part of the Los Alamos County government, to get started you should read the Los Alamos County Volunteer Policy.

Adult volunteers will be asked to sign Exhibit A, Individual Adult Volunteer Agreement and Release of Liability. For those under 18, a parent or guardian must sign Exhibit B, Individual Minor Volunteer Agreement andRelease of Liability.

We will also ask you to fill out a Volunteer Interest Form, available at library service desks, and set up an initial meeting to determine your talents and skills, as well as your availability to work. We will then try to match you with a project that will benefit both yourself and the library. You will receive some training, gain new skills, contribute to your library, and experience much appreciation for a job well done!     

 

 

 

 

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