R. David Lankes is an associate professor at the iSchool as well as director of the Information Institute of Syracuse (IIS) which houses several high-profile research efforts, including the Educator’s Reference Desk and projects for NSF’s National Science Digital Library. Dr. Lankes co-founded the AskERIC project in 1992 and also founded the Virtual Reference Desk project and was the first fellow of the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy.
by Judy Anderson, Oregon Chapter, Academic Division
What keeps you coming to SLA? Is it because you are making things happen that benefit you and those you know? Is it meeting new people and making contacts? Supporting a strong volunteer campaign and program can bring that enthusiasm and interest to others, too. One of the saddest comments is, “I would like to get involved but don’t know how.” Or even sadder, “I said I’d like to be volunteer but no one got back to me.” Making getting involved easier may spark new life into our Chapters. Volunteers bring fresh ideas and positive energy that can’t be beat.
A few thoughts to keep in mind when working with volunteers:
Match their interests and opportunities for career growth (something to add to their resumes as a skill) with things your organization needs done; busy work is not helpful for anyone.
Support their enthusiasm and fresh ideas…try new things. If they work, that’s fantastic; if not, you know now that they don’t work and can move to something else. Both experiences are valuable.
Choose projects that are needed but not mission critical or time sensitive to get them started.
Break the project into small segments that are easily managed and have an end point so it’s readily apparent that progress has been made and there is a finished product to be proud of.
Figure out the type of recognition needed for that person…verbal praise? Recognition at a meeting? A plaque? A thank you letter to their employer? How are you going to thank them in a way meaningful to them?
Like many of you, Oregon added a volunteer coordinator position to our Board. Not only does it provide a volunteer opportunity, but it’s helping us reach our members to let them know how they can take a more active role in the organization and is keeping track of their areas of interest so we can match projects with volunteers. After all, we’re all volunteers, so think about why you’re enjoying our association and work to bring that life and joy to others in the membership and beyond.
Judy Anderson is the current Past-President of SLA’s Oregon Chapter. She is the Head of Reference & Instruction at Concordia University-Portland, Oregon.
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