In a June post of Public Libraries Online, I shared my personal situation of being unemployed. I outlined what my plan of attack would be for coping with the circumstances. I am happy to report that the ideas detailed in that blog post came to fruition. While I have not found full-time employment yet, I am thankful for the opportunities I did find; an internship and a part-time job at a law library. Not having full-time pay and benefits is scary when you still have not found work despite your best efforts. But volunteering at any local library, whether public, academic, or special, might just give you the edge you need in the future. While every personal situation is unique, in my case volunteering has been the best idea I’ve ever had. It has enabled me to meet new people, and led to a part-time job.
I decided to walk into the law library and ask about volunteering while attending jury duty back in April. By June, I was volunteering six hours a week. My schedule was flexible, as I had some family obligations during this time which they graciously accepted. I assisted with basic tasks like weeding and reorganizing catalog cards. I soon graduated to filing loose-leaf legal updates. Then I was approached by the director if I would like to work 16 hours a week for the library. I jumped at the chance, as I was becoming increasingly aware that I needed some form of income while completing my internship at a local university’s Special Collections Department. I felt the law library was an interesting place to work and would help expand my experience. I liked the people too. Additionally, I wanted to postpone searching for jobs outside librarianship for as long as possible. So while my job loss was a terrible situation, I never would have expanded my professional or personal sphere without being laid off. I certainly have much to learn, and am quickly realizing there is never a dull moment at the law library. The potential benefits of part-time work are detailed in this blog. It can spur self reflection, allow you to pursue your passion, and maybe give you a bit more time for yourself or family. Even if you never have done much volunteering before, like me, it is worth a try. You never know who you will meet or what opportunities lay in store.