Benbrook Library / Musings

The Soles of Generous Souls: Appreciating Library Volunteers


They say you can’t fully understand and appreciate someone until you walk a mile in their shoes. Earlier this week, my colleagues and I experienced firsthand just how accurate that old saying is.

As a relatively small library, all the shelving of our returned items is handled by a single, awesome page and a group of dedicated volunteers. It’s a hugely important job, and if it’s not done regularly (read: almost constantly), the result can be a crippling slowdown and eventual breakdown of our entire operation. So, this past Wednesday, when neither our page nor our regular volunteers could make it in and a mountain of books, audiobooks, and DVDs began to form in our workroom, members of our shelving B Team were forced into action.

As my colleagues and I set about shelving, I thought about just how lucky we are to have all of our wonderful, gracious volunteers. They perform an essential task for the library out of the goodness of their hearts and demand nothing in return, unlike us fat cat paid workers. If they all suddenly stopped showing up, which they’re within their rights to do since the deal with volunteering is you don’t have to do it, we’d be in severe trouble. Thankfully, they don’t stop showing up; they’re here day after day, week after week, year after year, doing jobs that, vital as they are, aren’t necessarily high-profile or glamorous, and for that we’re incredibly grateful.

Our volunteers are certainly worthy of the spotlight, which is why tonight we’ll be capping off Volunteer Appreciation Week with our annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. Words are nice and all, but we find gratitude is so much better when it’s edible. We sincerely hope all the volunteers of BPL feel the love they deserve in their hearts and stomachs.

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