One of the things that I like about volunteering at the historical society is that no two days are ever alike. Another of the benefits is the people I meet that I would probably never meet otherwise. This spring I met a man from California I had communicated with on genealogy via email but had never met. He happened to come in on one of my work days and we were both surprised to meet in the library. Today another lady came in who was only a name to me until we met there and since then we have helped each other with our projects.
Today I was working on getting a postcard collection ready for the archives when two couples walked in. One of them was my cousin, Nora Hoover, and her well-known historian husband, Amos. The couple with them was obviously Amish but I had no clue who they were until Amos introduced us. I was pleasantly surprised to learn he was David Luthy from Pathway Publishers in Ontario. And David and his wife had read some of my books and were also surprised when they heard my name. David immediately sent his wife upstairs to the bookstore to buy one of my books because he wanted an autographed copy.
Later in the day a lady came in to research her family history. I heard her telling Mary (the volunteer at the research desk) the surnames she was searching for. One of them was Beery. Mary knew nothing about the Beerys but that is a family I have done some work on so I butted in and referred the lady to some books on the shelf which I knew were her Beery line. She was very grateful and impressed with what she found in the books. Being able to help someone like that produces a satisfied feeling.
Someone has said, "You will be the same five years from now except for the people you meet and the books you read." The historical society is crammed with books and a place where the currents of people's lives can mingle and flow together for a time; then go on to carry the shared knowledge in different branches to other places and people.
Sharing knowledge increases its value. Keeping knowledge erodes power. Sharing is the fuel to your growth engine.