So, yesterday began my first day volunteering for the VA library. For anyone who has worked for the government or have volunteered as well, you understand that there is a process before you begin. I have been waiting since mid-December, so to finally get started was an immense excitement. After expressing my interest I had to of course apply to be a volunteer. You then go through an orientation and then you have to take a background check. Nothing major (at least for now), just enough to know that you are ok to work within this environment. I will be in a hospital filled with veterans and personal information, and it needs to be known that I respect that privacy and have been a good citizen in a sense. After two weeks, yesterday morning, I was able to go grab my badge. Seeing and receiving that badge just made everything that I have started to work for feel complete. Let's face it, it’s official. Now, I am not naive. It doesn't grant me everything that a normal federal employee has access to, however, I feel that it will gain me the access later. It’s a step into my future and working within the VA or in any federal. (Even though at this point, I am leaning towards the VA).
I have been of course staying in contact with the library every step of the way, so when I finally got there I was welcomed immensely. It’s been a while since I felt that appreciated, especially within my current position. I learned about many of the projects that I will be working on. Most important of them all, is helping them produce an online catalog. Yes, they are still using a card catalog which is insane to me. I have not seen one since I was much younger, so it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing to me, but almost stepping back in what I like to think of as history. I have already taken basic cataloging during my MLS, and I am feeling pretty comfortable with it and the librarian will of course be helping me in the process. This will be such an amazing learning experience having to dive right into a project like this. Currently, the items where I work right now are cataloged by of course catalogers, so my learning experience is just the “classroom”. I am personally a hands on person and I like to actually practice with it and actually do the project. It helps me learn the process much better. I will also hopefully be helping them with instructional media tools. I learned a lot of that last semester, but also have developed some tools for my current position as well. It boosted my confidence to know that what I have learned so far and my current accomplishes can help a facility become even better than what it already is. There are of course going to be basics like shelf reading. This task does not bother me because I surprisingly enjoy it because I am a geek at heart and like things organized when it comes to materials. I was able to already find materials that were not barcoded, or not categorized correctly. Most of this may sound as if the library is completely unorganized, but keep in mind, they will very soon be moving to a bigger facility, they just introduced a new librarian, so things happen and become disorganized. I’m personally happy to help.
I hope to gain so much from this experience and I feel confident that I will. I like working and doing what I do. Library science has been an immense pleasure since I have started with my degree and I am learning at an extreme pace. With making the contacts, and working as hard as I have, making this connection and starting this volunteering is the perfect step into my future.