National Volunteer Week
Next week is National Volunteer Week — originally designated in 1943 to recognize “the vital contribution women made to the war effort on the home front”. Studies indicate that volunteers generally like to be thanked but I suspect that what matters most to many volunteers (like me) is the satisfaction of knowing one is making a difference in some way, big or small, to someone’s quality of life.
Today I am finishing the reading of my 35th book at the CNIB Recording Studio — Pumpkin Eater: A Dan Sharp Mystery by Jeffrey Round. The record I keep on goodreads doesn’t indicate the year I started volunteering: 2004.
I’ve written about my work there before, describing how the recording of Ragged Company by Richard Wagamese varied from how things are usually done. I’m writing about it again now is because I’ve reached a milestone in my development as a volunteer reader. I’ve been working solo.
The recording of an audio book usually involves two volunteers: a reader who sits with a book in a soundproof booth and a technician sitting outside the booth with another copy of the book and a computer. The reader reads (natch) and the technician signals the reader when to begin, listens for stumbles, errors, or extraneous noises that would compromise the quality of the audiobook, and hits all the appropriate buttons for recording, rewinding, starting a new page or chapter, etc. Going solo means the reader is monitoring his-or-her own reading and operating the computer controls him-or-herself.
My first solo session I made what I was told are common errors. My most frequent error occurred because of mis-timing my hitting the Record button and starting to read, resulting in the first word read being clipped. This can occur many times during a session — at the beginning of a reading and every time a reader resumes reading after stopping the recording and rewinding so a correction can be made. So you can imagine my delight when, after this problem was pointed out to me, I received this report on my second solo session:
“Take care to guard against complacency” the report says (a fair and justified warning) but isn’t it nice that CNIB staff choose to highlight the “thanks” part of their comments? (click image to enlarge)
While we’re on the subject of thanks here, I’d like to say “Thanks” to CNIB for allowing me the opportunity, for eleven years now, to make a difference to Canadians living with visual impairment simply by doing something I love to do.
Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.