The importance of volunteers

By Judi Lipp, 19 December 2017 , Comments

Anyone who has popped into the library at Northcott’s North Parramatta office will recognise the smiling face and flame red hair of librarian Judi Lipp.

For more than two decades Judi has been assisted in her duties by a rotating roster of invaluable volunteers.

To celebrate the recent International Volunteer Day, Judi took the time to reflect on those who have dedicated their time to Northcott.

Volunteers have added so much to my service in the 21 years that I have worked at Northcott. Right from the start, I was charged with finding a suitable volunteer to tackle the massive challenge that was the management of hardcopy client files.

Danny, a recent graduate in Records Management studies, assisted to bring order. Danny created our Closed Client Database in which he entered every file. Danny eventually found paid employment in his field but this database remains in use today.

Over the years many of my volunteers have become dear friends. Lesley and I ticked an item off my bucket list by travelling to Melbourne and taking a suite at Hotel Windsor. In the days before internet, during my recovery from a broken ankle, Lesley enabled urgent work to be accomplished via telephone.

Pam and Thomas were integral in setting up our useful Northcott Timeline among so many other roles with Northcott’s history and client files. Tony and I solved world issues while bringing order to chaos in many areas and Faiyaz established his legacy with a searchable electronic document of our precious first client Register dating from 1930.

So many Northcott clients gained valuable work experience with my service while providing essential assistance with shelving, secure destruction and data entry. Simon, who started as a volunteer with Library Technician qualifications, also had a limited paid role that has finally resulted in employment with the Liverpool Council Library. His framed photograph is a library acquisition that proudly decorates our walls.

I am proud to share my expertise with a number of students studying my profession by accepting work placements. These are win/win situations as I tailor projects that enhance library services for Northcott users. I also host group visits from Charles Sturt University students who visit a range of libraries over three days to gain insight into the variety on offer in the library sector.

My current volunteers and recent past volunteers have allowed me to deliver on the expectations that all hardcopy files from all services will be data checked and housed at North Parramatta. Thank you Bob and Nabila, as through much angst, we are almost near the end of this project. 

Marianne continues to undertake the necessary data edits in CareLink+ and related shelving. She is a dynamo who proves that age is simply a number.  Since her initial role with Northcott in 1993, she enjoyed a number of positions before her official retirement after which she continued her involvement by volunteering weekly with me. This means I get to have my friend visit me at work!

Gulshan, a recent Diploma of Library and Info Studies graduate, is adding all the Clinical Services children’s literature to the catalogue and has completed the cataloguing of the donation of 60 books from Northcott former Director, Dr Mary Westbrook.

My volunteers enrich my life and their endeavours make my role manageable and add value to the service I provide. I know they would tell you that the benefit is two way.

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