Helping out at the NCACL or volunteering is vital to the work of the National Centre. The story of the National Centre and that of its volunteers has been integral to its growth and development. The only paid staff in the last 40 years have been that of a part-time children’s librarian in the mid 1980’s and the part-time staff funded by the Children’s Book Council of Australia.
While volunteers have their own sets of professional experience and knowledge they very quickly become experts in the work that they undertake. The NCACL is now in the position of matching the knowledge and skills of a potential volunteer with tasks that need completing. A lack of space means that only a small number of volunteers can be accommodated at any one time.
From time to time the NCACL will put out a call for help for a specific task or project. An example of this is the six exhibitions at the ACT Public Library service undertaken to support Sharing Stories. A celebration of Australian children’s book creators plus the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) exhibition. It comprised of 191 children’s books in translation from 60 countries around the world never before seen in Australia.
A further example of the power of NCACL volunteer expertise is the recently launched Cultural Diversity Database.