Volunteers are a great to have in a library, at all ages! Even if there is the possibility that they will be doing your job in a year or two. They can be faithful, hardworking and intelligent slave labor.
Also sometimes they are terrible people to interact with.
There was a cart of donations in the reference office. I was idly browsing them while waiting to talk to someone. And in walked the volunteer.
“Excuse me…” she says, letting the thought fade away in her obvious shock at my behavior. You know. Looking at books on the cart she had been working on. “Are you…?” Not a completionist, this one.
“I was just looking at it.” I assure her.
“Thank you.” she tells me, slightly exasperated.
You’re…welcome? I don’t say this out loud, of course. When someone tells me something as nonsensical as David Lynch performing an interpretive dance of The Jabberwocky, my brain locks up and my only choice is to pretend it never happened. I move aside and focus my attention at a nearby conversation in progress.
“Because these are books I’m looking up values for.” she continues to insist.
“Okay.” I reply. And then back to the more interesting conversation. I think it was about …I don’t even remember. Anyway.
“But when I’m done scouting them-”
First I should explain. This same volunteer was quite miffed back in November when my sister, a card carrying, masters degree wielding librarian, didn’t know what scouting meant! Can you believe it? Of course you can’t, because scouting isn’t a real word with any relation to libraries. Unless it’s scouting all the hot ladies that frequent the library. Am I right?! No, I am not. The point-and our best guess- is that she picked up the slang term at another branch and attributed it as a term straight from the An Actual Thing Real Life Librarians And People That Are Totally Just As Important As Real Life Librarians Would Say Dictionary. Underlining the title: I’m old school like that. Anyway back to what she was saying.
“-and if it’s not worth something you can buy it. For a dollar.”
BWAAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA. Oh that’s just adorable. Now somebody help me put these boxes of donated film reels nobody will be able to use in my car. I’m going to decorate my entryway wall with them.
In conclusion, because I feel guilty being snarky these days without some kind of moral at the end of the tale, if you are volunteering because you like helping out your local library, you are a wonderful person. But if you take that volunteer work and twist it into a weak semblance of personal control unworthy of your power trip, you are a petty person. Especially if you are attempting to eek out control over me. That’s like lording it over your cat. It’s not a real leadership position, and the cat doesn’t care.