Monday, May 5, 2014

I'm a Distracted Volunteer + Yard Sale Shopping

My local library saves me a ton of money! Since I stopped buying books in 2012, I've checked out and read 142. So I'd estimate the library has saved me about $1500 (minus 75¢ in late fees :) ) just in the past two years, and who knows how much in my lifetime.

In return, a while back I decided to volunteer my time. But I make a terrible volunteer. I was told to move the biographies from one set of shelves to another, which of course meant looking at every volume, carrying it across the library, and then reshelving, making sure all the books were in the proper order. And that led to me studying each spine, wondering who the person was, briefly paging through to see if there were any interesting photographs, filling a piece of scrap paper with names of people to google, and setting aside biographies I wanted to check out immediately. 

About an hour later when I had only managed to move about a hundred books (and had reached my checkout limit of 20), the librarian graciously said I'd done plenty and to come back the following week.

And so the process repeated itself, with slight variations, as I was assigned all kinds of minor jobs in the library and took 8 times the expected time to finish the task. When I came to the end of my committed hours, I decided not to sign up for more. 

So even though in most situations, I'd rather volunteer than make a donation, this one is the exception to the rule. In that spirit, Mr. G and I went to my library's yard sale last weekend. We made a donation and then set out looking for deals. And look what we found for $3:
Board games! Which I adore. (I even mentioned wanting Trivial Pursuit in the comments!)

We've already had a chance to try out Skip-Bo at a family dinner and really enjoyed it. Very similar to Solitaire, but played in a group. We also played Trivial Pursuit - but that was no surprise as we'd played it before, just never had our own set. Chutes & Ladders is a simple game meant for kids (both Mr. G and I remember playing it when we were little), so we'll wait for our nieces and nephews to visit for that one.

Do you enjoy yard sale/rummage sale/tag sale shopping?


  1. Aww what a sweet story!

    I go at break neck speed when I volunteer at the coop. I think it gives them the most of my time. But I notice others, including those that are paid, are more leisurely. Seems I have a good work ethic... esp when it's not truly work! Alas, at work, I'm known to read blogs and comment ;)

    What a great way to cheaply add to your board game collection!

    1. I like to think I have decent work ethic - maybe just not when I'm surrounded by books! :)

      Yes, the price agreed with us as well!

  2. Too funny! When I was a kid I was exactly the same when my mother asked me to sort out all the junk in my desk drawers. I never got very far because I would come across interesting things to read. I can't work out if your efforts would frustrate the librarians or if they would be appreciative of any volunteering, however slow.

    But hey! Isn't it good how much money you've saved? And I think you've been very good with the late fees.

    1. Ooh yes - I can related to the junk drawer phenomenon. I also have a weakness for sorting through old school papers.

      The one librarian I worked with most often didn't seem to mind how little I actually accomplished, and I think my interest in all the books was amusing to her :) What has saved me the most from the late fees is that for the past 5 years or so, automated emails are sent when you have 3 days left to return your books. Very helpful! And usually I can make it there within 3 days. Plus late fees are only 10 cents for books and 5 cents for magazines, not too bad!

  3. Moving books is such heavy work that I'm sure they'd be grateful for the help (no matter how quick or slow!) I know a few people in the library I worked in had bad backs...they were very appreciative of a hundred books moved here and there.

    Great to pick up such lovely games - and all for a good cause. Very impressed at your fine record!!

    1. Thankfully the librarian I usually worked with was happy with whatever I got done. And you make a great point, there was a lot of bending and lifting involved, so it would not be pleasant for someone with back problems!

      I know my record as a kid wasn't impressive - I have to give credit to the library's email reminders because they keep my due dates at the forefront of my mind!

  4. LOL! At the library where I work, we limit our volunteers to specific roles that don't overlap with staff work; for example, we recruit people to read with 6-11 year olds each week, because it really motivates the kids when it's a shared activity. I bet I'd be like you if I ever volunteered at a museum or art gallery; I would always be pausing to sneak a peek online and look up artists or artifacts!

    1. I could definitely maintain focus while reading to 6-11 year olds, haha! It would be tough for me to volunteer in a museum as well :)


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