I talked to an old friend, who now has opportunity to exist without full-time work. He scratches his head at the thought of volunteer work. He would be surprised to learn that in 2010, more than 13 million people, or 47% of the Canadian population, volunteered their time through a group or organization. In addition if one were to add up the time of Canadians who volunteered, it would be nearly 2.1 billion hours in 2010. That is the equal  to almost 1.1 million full-time jobs. Both facts were found in the Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating from Statistics Canada, released on March 21, 2012.

Some benefits of volunteering include:

  • skill development generally
  • networking (especially if one moves to a new city,  or transitions to a different industry)
  • developing managerial skills (supervising, or team-building)
  • rewards and incentives (free entry into arts festivals)
  • supporting faiths or convictions (the latter could include environmental organizations)

I thought of my friend, when I volunteered to host a dine around event for  librarians at the annual Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) recently. A Dine Around  is a gathering of local host with conference attendees, who want to enjoy a meal of other librarians at CALL. We had a great time talking shop while kicking back. It was networking and socializing, while fulfilling a professional development function and the local host supported the collegiality at CALL.

– Brenda Wong


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