Volunteer Bill helps a patron at tech lab

Bill (left) and a patron work out a problem with a laptop and smartphone at Cedar Mill Library's drop-in Tech Lab.

Loneliness has been called "the new smoking" because the physical effect it has can be equivalent to the damage from smoking 15 cigarettes a day. We've long known that volunteering--involvement in a cause or community--helps combat depression. If you have recently relocated or retired, the shared purpose offered by a volunteer position is a great way to get involved and build your social network.

At the Cedar Mill and Bethany Community Libraries, a non-profit organization just north of Highway 26, volunteers find purpose in advancing the library's mission of lifelong learning and promoting early literacy. Many volunteers sort and shelve books, but others contribute well-honed professional skills as well.

Can you text a photo, or download an e-book to an iPad? You could be a huge help to tech novices at the drop-in Technology Lab at Cedar Mill Library. You don't have to know everything about every device, but your experience with smartphones or laptops can instill confidence in new tech users, and open doors to great books, or organized photos, or that unanswered voicemail that keeps blinking a light at its user! 

Maybe your work involved facilitating and running meetings. Pair that with a love for reading, and you could be a tremendous asset at a senior living community by hosting a monthly book group. The library provides books and help with a discussion guide, and you run the meeting. You get a great read plus the sense of accomplishment that comes from brightening someone's day with a lively book discussion.

Or maybe you love to drive. You can promote early literacy--and lifelong success--by delivering books to kids in childcare. The library is one of the few free ways that gets books into children's hands...even before they're in school. Research shows that a solid foundation in literacy at an early age leads to greater success in school and beyond. Isn't that a great thing to promote, in the comfort of your own vehicle? What a difference you can make by driving a two-hour route once a month!

Whatever your skill set, offer it to your library. You'll find you get as much--or more--out of it as you put into it. When you volunteer, everyone wins.

For more information: https://Library.CedarMill.org

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