I have already discussed at some length my experience of volunteering in a primary school library & my mixed feelings about whether it devalues the profession in Thing 16. Volunteering has given me library & information experience which I would otherwise not have gained over the past year of trying to change career. In addition to my volunteering in the school library, I also volunteer as a cataloguer for a local natural science society which is aiming to catalogue its entire museum collection. I have designed a basic database to catalogue their shell collection (dating from the early 20th century) - the area which has been designated to me - &, one afternoon each week, work my way steadily through drawer after drawer of beautiful shells. I'm not a natural scientist, but as a member of the society, my contribution is welcomed, & I am learning new skills of archive & collection management.
The one downside to my volunteering is that I am not, in the strictest sense, line-managed. Both the school & the society are very grateful for my contribution, & it is lovely, on the one hand, to be given a certain amount of freedom, but I think that I crave direction & mentoring. My efforts to gain library experience in order to change career have been largely self-guided, &, as we cpd23-ers know, there's nothing wrong with that, but some structured guidance would be great!