Volunteering at Boxcar Books
How we function: Boxcar Books is powered by volunteers who work collectively to maintain the shop and support the efforts of local community groups and artists who use Boxcar Books as a meeting and event space. Volunteer shift workers staff the shop and handle day-to-day needs. Coordinators serve as community outreach liaisons and organize volunteers to help sustain on-going programs and store operations. Other volunteers help out as they are able by assisting with store upkeep and special projects. Everyone works together to make the shop a useful community resource, sharing labor and responsibilities from cleaning the bathroom to updating the inventory. Once a month, volunteers meet to connect with other collective members and discuss store issues.
How to get involved: The first step to becoming a volunteer at Boxcar Books is to fill out an application. You can pick one up at the store at any time (just ask the volunteer behind the counter for one) or fill it out online. The Volunteer Coordinator will get in touch with you to set up an interview.
Volunteer tasks and opportunities:
- Have a few extra hours in your day? Get shit done at the Boxcar. Ask the volunteer behind the counter what you can do to help out.
- Adopt a section—choose a subject that you feel passionate about and commit to regularly shelf reading that section (putting books in alphabetical order)
- Use your art skills to make signs and special displays throughout the store
- Create designs for new Boxcar Books buttons, stickers, and info sheets
- Write an article or zine review for the Boxcar Books newsletter
- Help distribute Boxcar Books newsletters to businesses with free literature racks
- Pull a card from the “task card” pack and do the cleaning task on the card
- Organize the free bin and free literature stand
- Wander around town and put up flyers for special events at the shop
- Help keep the outside of the shop looking green and beautiful—pick up trash around the outside of the store or sort recyclables carelessly tossed in the garbage can in to the recycle bins on the front porch
- Think about special skills you have and how you can put them to use at Boxcar Books. Brainstorm ideas with other volunteers and check in with the collective about any special projects you want to work on.
- Boxcar Books supports the efforts of the Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project which sends personal letters and books free of charge to prisoners who request literature. Check out their website for more information about volunteering at MWPP: www.pagestoprisoners.org.