Could Libraries (or any organisation) make the world a better place by promoting social change through staff initiatives? Specifically mandatory volunteering? #blogjune Day 22

Volunteering, if you’ve ever done it you know what I mean when I say it just makes you feel like a better person.  The world seems rosier, the air fresher, the people nicer, the smile on your face wider.  If you find yourself passionate about something (anything!!) then volunteering in some way related to that passion benefits you as well as those you are volunteering for.  You feel elation, satisfaction and contentment – ‘giving’ is a really underrated way of making you feel better about your entire existence (in my opinion), as you get to make somebody else’s day better – somebody who really might need to have seen your friendly face or experienced your unrequited help.  So why would everybody not want to do some sort of volunteer work??  Why would any sane person not want to make the world a better place by giving their time to support something they are enthusiastic about, making themselves feel great at the same time??

TIME…..time is the dirty word here!!!  Well in my opinion anyway.  Obviously, there are always going to be people who are just not into helping others or making the world a better place and that’s fine (as long as they don’t mind being crossed off my Christmas list…..).  Haha.

So my question…..could libraries promote this kind of social change (where we start to care more about other people or animals) by providing their employee’s with valuable time to volunteer??  Ask yourself……”If your employer paid your salary or normal wage whilst you volunteered would it allow you the time and create the desire to do so?”

When I rule the … let’s just say ‘world’ but I mean a library… I will make it mandatory for every single staff member in my ‘world’ to volunteer for at least four hours a month (during work hours if necessary), in a not-for-profit registered charity of their choice, and as their ruler (or employer) I will be required to pay them their normal wage/salary for said four hours a month.

Now I know it may seem like paying an employee to volunteer defeats the purpose of volunteering entirely, (and of course there are those of us out there that don’t require payment) but, I feel like it is kind of a ‘distribution of wealth’ type scenario, where the means to the end isn’t the important part, just the end result is what matters.  And surely my ‘world’ can handle the loss of somebody for four hours a month so that they can go and help another ‘world’ who can’t afford to pay them for their time.  I just think it would start a chain reaction that would make the real world a better place for all of us?  Or am I delusional, naive or just being too simplistic?

I feel like at this point I should shake both my hands in a ‘let’s go!’ type movement (like Nicholas Cage in ’60 Seconds’ when they play ‘Lowrider’ and he says “Let’s ride” before stealing all those cars!!)…….but maybe a simple “Discuss” or “Over to you” would suffice!

Jade Bryan


2 thoughts on “Could Libraries (or any organisation) make the world a better place by promoting social change through staff initiatives? Specifically mandatory volunteering? #blogjune Day 22

  1. havvateede says:

    Oh I just love your enthusiasm! You are completely right about how fulfilling volunteering is, and I’m lucky enough to have the time and means to be able to. My parents were migrants, and when they settled here, my mum learnt English through community groups, I remember she use to have this little exercise book and she would jot down words in English, and ask me about them. Now I volunteer as an English Conversation Group facilitator, and I love meeting so many people from such a variety of backgrounds. I love hearing their stories, clarifying confusing colloquial phrases we use here, and just generally, spending time with them. The facilitators and the participants all get so much out of the interaction, and I feel so lucky that I’m getting this insight and perspective from people so different to me. I suppose, it’s my way of ‘paying it forward’ for a cause close to me, and I think it’s important with volunteering to be involved in a cause of significance to the individual, because some days it is hard to make the effort, some days you just don’t feel up to it! But if it’s worthwhile to you then you are more likely to (and the place you are going is more likely to) enjoy it. I think the hard sell for businesses would be convincing the parent body (as so many libraries have one) in getting staff to volunteer, I suppose it could be enmeshed into the strategic plan or vision of the parent organization? Another potential problem could be in configuring the roster, and logistics, keeping track of it all. So many businesses cost the resource hours to certain projects or categories. I think it would work well as an approach to a whole organization, making something like this as part of the organizational culture…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. petradumbell says:

    Love your enthusiasm too! One thing that your post made me think of though is it would be important to get staff on board properly – make it their thing. So instead of a top-down approach of “you will all take 4 hours every Friday to volunteer because we need to make the world a better place” – use a bottom-up approach of “all staff who want to do something to make the world a better place can have 4 hours off every Friday, to meet, discuss and plan how to go about it”. That way it will be their thing, and they will push it forward with passion. And they may choose to not volunteer but do something else instead, but good things will come of it either way 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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