Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Volunteers Wanted!

Between scanning and photographing new books, indexing handwritten records, cataloging, and all the other miscellaneous tasks that need to be done on a daily basis there is never a dull moment at the Godfrey!  In fact, the Godfrey has so much going on that we're looking for some new volunteers to help us out!  If you are interested in genealogy, libraries, or just looking for something to do, why not give it a try?

We are especially looking for volunteers interested in indexing and scanning documents for eventual inclusion in the Scholar+ database.  Behind every indexed handwritten record is hours of work done by our dedicated volunteers.  They record the information into spreadsheets which are then used to create the digital index for each record.  We are experimenting with remote indexing so in some cases you may not need to come to the library at all to volunteer!  If you would like to index for us it is helpful if you know how to read cursive, as many of the older handwritten records are entirely in cursive.

Before indexing each book must be scanned.  The Godfrey uses a non-destructive scanning process that, while it takes a little more time, preserves the original work.  Our scanners are often some of the first people to read these documents in years!  They find all sorts of interesting information.  While scanning the Haddam Neck Area Vital Records Abstracts a volunteer found the tragic note regarding the half brothers John Ranney and Jerusha Flood.  Both brothers fought in the Seminole War, but only Jerusha survived.  According the abstract he brought his brother’s head home in a bag.  Scanning is easy to learn, so even if you are not familiar with computers you’ll pick it up quickly!

The Godfrey gets donations of books on a semi regular basis.  When possible we add these books to our existing collection, which necessitates cataloging them before they go out to the shelves.  We use LibraryWorld as our primary cataloging tool.  If you’re interested in pursuing a career in a library this would be a great experience to put on your résumé!  We recommend that anyone interested in cataloging be familiar with using a computer.

If anything here strikes your fancy why not come and volunteer?  If you want to volunteer and are interested in something else, don’t hesitate to ask!  These are just the three main project areas where volunteers are needed; there are plenty of other jobs volunteers can take care of too.  Whether you’re young or old, the Godfrey will welcome you!  People interested in volunteering can contact the library at (860) 346-4375.

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