SLA Europe President Kate Arnold shares her thoughts on SLA's annual volunteer drive
Volunteering (aka The Big Society) is a popular topic in the UK thanks to our coalition government and their desire to get us all volunteering. I was reminded of this by a recent email from Cindy Romaine (SLA’s President-elect) which announced the launch of SLA's annual volunteer drive. It got me thinking about the personal and professional benefits of volunteering.
I initially joined SLA to gain access to an unrivalled network of news librarians. On reflection 11 years later I realise I have got more than just a network of friends and colleagues. Through volunteering at unit (SLA Europe and the News division), committee (cataloguing), advisory council (PR) and board (SLA board of directors) levels I have been able to contribute to my development and that of the profession.
Personally, I’ve gained confidence in my abilities while having the opportunity to develop and hone new skills, including chairing meetings, influencing and motivating volunteers to name but a few. Not forgetting the mentoring and support I’ve received, particularly important in the early days and during stressful times at work. It’s rewarding to now be in a position to mentor others.
From a professional perspective my involvement on SLA’s board undoubtedly helped to ensure the non-North American perspective was considered in association plans.
So, if you’re interested in contributing more to the profession or simply want to partake in some personal development, then consider completing the volunteer request form. The deadline for applications is 4 October 2010. Make sure you research the offerings available and match your skills, and development needs with the roles on offer. Finally as SLA increases its international activities and outlook, I’d encourage anyone keen to provide an international voice to go ahead and volunteer; SLA will be richer for your contribution.