For 3 years, it ran in the Greeley Tribune. Since then, it has run in various subsidiaries of the Douglas County News Press. I still have most of my columns in digital format.
For many years, I only gave myself one rule: try to work the word "library" into every piece. My intent was to think in public about just what librarianship means at the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st.
There have been many advantages for me. I found that putting library plans out in front of the public, and getting feedback about them, helped me make better decisions. Sometimes, I found that it was very difficult for me to describe those plans or policies -- the kind of thing that makes me realize that they might not be good ideas after all. The weekly discipline of explaining my profession to the public keeps me more mindful, more honest. It also has provided steady visibility for the library and its issues.
September 8, 2004 - Volunteer Assistant Opportunity
Last week I talked about our strategies for coping with a rapidly growing workload. One of them involved a more thoughtful use of volunteers. This week, I'd like to announce our first example of that.
The district is looking to hire several volunteer administrative assistants. What does the job entail? Mainly, it will involve filing, data entry, scanning, faxing, phones, typing, and organizing. There are spreadsheets to build, databases to maintain, and community directories to update.
There are letters to write, applicants to stay in touch with. There are supplies to track, employee packets to assemble, public brochures to bundle and distribute.
And, of course, there are projects so scintillating that we haven't even thought them up yet.
The position will support the district's Community Relations, Human Resources and Volunteer Services departments. That means you'll get a look at all the public relations and marketing contacts around the county. You'll get to work with topnotch professionals in our personnel area.
What qualifications do you need to have?
Here's the big one: you must agree to work a minimum of 10 hours per week. We're also asking for a commitment of six months or more. It will take some time for the right candidates to get up to speed, and we hope to reap some of the rewards of that training before people move on and up. The position will begin in October of this year. Candidates must be 16 years old or older.
The right person should also be:
* highly organized;
* reliable, professional and dependable.
We're also hoping to find people with at least some computer skills, who are also willing and able to learn.
The people we hire must observe strict confidentiality guidelines. We are looking for people of good judgment, who understand and respect the importance of professional confidences.
A strong interest in public libraries is a plus.
Finally, what do you get out of it? Why should you go through the trouble of a job interview, when even if you get the job, you won't get paid for it?
Well, the sort of person we're looking for might fall into several categories, among them:
* the recently retired person looking to keep his or her skills up, with a few extra hours a week and an itch to be useful.
* people who find themselves between jobs, and would welcome the opportunity to look over the operations of a successful public sector organization.
* moms who are looking to start getting back into the workforce, and are looking to brush up their skills, and make some new contacts in the community.
* students required to participate in internships or practica.
* anybody who feels underutilized, and wants to work with upbeat, interesting people doing jobs that make a difference.
If this looks like something that might appeal to you, what should you do? Mail, fax or email (PDF, StarOffice or Word equivalent attachments only) your resume and/or district volunteer application immediately (available in our libraries or on our web site at www.DouglasCountyLibraries.org) to: Patti Owen-DeLay, Douglas County Libraries, 100 S. Wilcox St., Castle Rock, CO 80104. Fax: 303-688-7655. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to working with the successful candidates!