We started the Get Involved project in 2008 when libraries were getting interested in the aging Baby Boomers. Research showed that they volunteer at higher rates than previous generations did at their age, but that they were often not able to find the kind of volunteer opportunities they were interested in. They are seeking ways to share the skills they've learned in the workforce, so are not necessarily as excited about our "traditional" library volunteer opportunities, but have a lot to share if we make a place for them.
Recent research shows that this is not just an interest of the "Boomer" generation — Both Gen X and Millenials have a similar interest — wanting to share the skills they have, rather than just do work that "anyone" can do.
So now we talk less about generational issues, and more about how to engage "high end," "high impact," or "high skilled" volunteers. California Libraries are achieving wonderful things by thinking about how they can engage people with skills in new volunteer roles for the library.
The following libraries are having terrific results with high skilled volunteers. Brief videos describing their successes are to the right in the following order:
- Huntington Beach Public Library "Computer Coach" program
- St. Helena Public Library – Engaging Volunteer Leaders in a Small Library
- San Jose Public Library – "Leadership Volunteers"
Here are some sample skilled volunteer job descriptions that have been created by California Libraries:
Huntington Beach Public Library
San Jose Public Library
- Coordinator, Adult Literacy Outreach Team
- Coordinator, Photo and Video Services
- Coordinator, Afterschool Programs
Sacramento Public Library