I know there are varying opinions about the value of library school graduates engaging in volunteer work, but I come down firmly on the side of pro-volunteering.  I think much of the negative view of volunteering comes form the idea that everything we do should help with our careers and, in many cases, volunteering simply can’t do that. However, I disagree with that idea, that everything we do should be for pay or to work towards getting paid.  I’ve gained so much more from my volunteering than simply a line on my resume.  Volunteering gives you a chance to experience different organizations, to meet new people, to give back to the community.  I feel less stress and more joy giving my time for free.  Of course, I would love to find a job where I can use my degree and do what I love, but even without that, volunteering is a chance for me to be involved in the field.

I recently started volunteering at the Midwest Genealogy Center here in Kansas City.  Currently, I’m helping index obituaries from the 1970s.  It’s fascinating to read about people’s lives, to see what their loved ones thought was important at the end.  It’s also neat to see the differences between obituaries then and now.  For instance, there are a large number that are titled “Mrs. Husband’s Name” which isn’t something you see as often nowadays.  It’s nice to spend the morning in such a lovely, peaceful building going through them.  It’s also nice knowing that what I’m doing will help the patrons be able to more easily find what they need.



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