In 2009, a team of volunteers at ProQuest responded to the American Library Association's national call for a "Summer of Service" with a volunteer program to support local libraries. In the years since, the company has resumed the program under the theme "Live, Learn, Laugh, Love Your Library" each summer. As the 2012 program concluded, a celebration at the company's Ann Arbor headquarters honored 91 volunteers for their 14 projects at community organizations.
The 2012 ProQuest Library Volunteer program — run entirely by employees — identified project opportunities with eight Michigan-based organizations, including the Ann Arbor District Library, Canton Public Library, Chelsea District Library, Ypsilanti District Library, the University of Michigan, Ypsilanti Public Schools, the Community Action Network and Perry Nursery School. In New Jersey, volunteers took on projects for the Berkeley Heights Public Library.
"This has been an exciting year for the Library Volunteer program," said program coordinator Jessica Lehr. "What started as a grassroots effort by a few ProQuest librarians in 2009 has become a key part of ProQuest's work in our local communities. It's been great to see the enormous interest and growth of volunteering this past year; it's amazing to review all the projects and realize how much we can accomplish when 90 plus people give time to their local libraries and community organizations! It's also a great opportunity for ProQuest employees to meet and work with others across the organization, and to connect with their libraries. It makes me proud to work for ProQuest."
In more than 600 hours of work — a 300 percent expansion from the 2011 program — volunteers tackled a variety of projects, including those that leveraged the company's expertise in indexing and preparing documents for digitization. For example, volunteers helped make images on the Ann Arbor District Library's Old News website more discoverable by adding names for people, places and businesses to the records of the Ann Arbor Courier, published from 1880-1888. At the Ypsilanti District Library, ProQuest volunteers helped create an index of historical Ypsilanti newspapers. "This index captures names and dates that will be very valuable to genealogists and local history researchers," said project coordinator Shannon Wait, an acquisitions specialist in ProQuest's Content Operations area.
ProQuest has a history of advocacy in support of libraries and its local communities around the world. The company encourages community give-back by enabling every employee to spend two full, paid days per year at the volunteer program of their choice.
About ProQuest (www.proquest.com)
ProQuest connects people with vetted, reliable information. Key to serious research, the company has forged a 70-year reputation as a gateway to the world's knowledge — from dissertations to governmental and cultural archives to news, in all its forms. Its role is essential to libraries and other organizations whose missions depend on the delivery of complete, trustworthy information.
ProQuest's massive information pool is made accessible in research environments that accelerate productivity, empowering users to discover, create, and share knowledge.
An energetic, fast-growing organization, ProQuest includes the ProQuest®, Bowker®, Dialog®, ebrary®, and Serials Solutions® businesses and notable research tools such as the RefWorks®, and Pivot™ services, as well as its' Summon® web-scale discovery service. The company is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with offices around the world.