I think that volunteering in order to improve your CV is a really good idea, and it’s something that I’m definitely hoping to do while I’m at library school. I think that it’s important to gain as much experience as possible when you are in the early stages of your career and volunteering can be a really positive way to do this as it also enables you to give something back. Having said that, in the context of providing a high quality library service I do believe that volunteers should only ever be used to provide supplementary support and should not be seen as a replacement for professional library staff.
At the moment, the current gaps that I’ve identified on my CV include a lack of teaching experience and limited experience of working with young people. Given that my current interests are in school libraries and information literacy training, I know that I need to build on my experience in these two key areas so that I’m in a stronger position when it comes to applying for jobs. As it stands, I’m currently pursuing a couple of voluntary opportunities which I think will be really useful for me, as well as being interesting and rewarding in their own right. One great thing about being a student is that there are a huge number of voluntary projects which you can potentially get involved with.
I think that my biggest problem with undertaking voluntary work this year is going to be lack of time – this first term is going to be particularly busy because I have a high number of contact hours. However, I’m hoping to have a bit more free time next term, so watch this space for further developments!