Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The value of interns and volunteers

This fall we have been lucky to have the benefit of a Simmons School of Library and Information Science intern, Anne Lundregan, working with us on our Digital Media Lab Makerspace.

Everyone wins: she gets academic credit for working with us and developing some programming on her own to test out on our patrons, and we get a commited 10 hours/week professional-in-training to help us develop our new initiative.

Now we are planning to develop a structured volunteer program centered on our Digital Media Lab (DML). It's always tricky to figure out how to use volunteers and how to give them enough buy-in to make a reliable commitment.

Our circulation volunteers are very reliable and seem to know they are much appreciated. They tend to be retired folks who have daytime hours to offer, which is so helpful. With Makerspaces, the expertise we are looking for may come in the form of working people whose availability is much more constrained. Though they may not work on Saturdays, who wants to give up that precious time when errands must be run, appointments made, and healthy relaxation is required? But if we can get them excited about being able to participate in things beyond the scope of their jobs or individual lives, maybe that will be enough. Learning new skills, playing with powerful creeative tools, helping others achieve a level of competence and comfort with new technology - these are the enticements we can offer.

We have some emails in to the Duxbury High School Creative Imaging teacher as well as the Tech Department to offer ourselves to students who need community service credit for National Honor Society. We're hoping to be a good place for collaboration with the schools on this.


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