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Archive for the ‘Volunteers’ Category

In Celebration of our Wonderful PBS Volunteers – Why I Volunteer

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

By James L (JimiJam)

In the nearly three and a half years since I became a Tour Guide, I honestly can’t recall having been asked this question. With the question having finally been raised in light of Volunteer Appreciation Week, my initial response was “Why wouldn’t I?” Later that day, the response had, after some reflection, changed to “Come to think of it, why do I?”


The truth is, I felt like a volunteer for quite some time, well before taking the steps to become a Tour Guide. Much as I enjoyed the discussion forums in general, as I neared my first Swappiversary I realized I had slowly but surely gravitated toward the Questions forum, nearly to the exclusion of the others. I suppose it was a natural progression; my life had already been revolving around the Swap for months. My days were largely spent perusing the database, adding books to my Reminder and Wish Lists, acquiring new books to read, and, of course, reading those already acquired. I had come to learn a great deal about the Swap in those months, and found I enjoyed helping others to elevate their own experiences as members.


I can’t recall what it was, exactly, that triggered the decision. Perhaps I noticed that my answers were on par with those of the existing Tour Guides, or that, since I was already spending so much time in the Help Center, it would have been a shame not to put it to better use. Whatever the reason, I asked how one became a Tour Guide, and after several grueling weeks of rigorous training, testing, hazing, and branding (which they so cleverly refer to as “the Book Mark”), I finally earned my TG icon.


Much like my membership, I’ve never given becoming a Tour Guide a second thought. It’s just a fact of life: up is up, down is down, my name is James, and I’m a PBS Tour Guide. So now, with the question squarely in front of me, I find myself thinking: Why exactly do I volunteer? Is it because I love learning, and the Help Center is somehow just this side of limitless? Because I like to help people? Or maybe because I’m just a natural-born sucker for rules, policies, and protocols? These all play a big role in my predisposition to volunteering, but they’re not the true underlying cause. Ultimately, it’s pretty simple: I love PBS.


In all the wide webby world, the Swap, from its quality community to the service it provides, is truly incomparable. At least I’ve never found anything quite like it. My life has changed at least a dozen times over, and every single transformation owed a serious debt to the Swap. Whether it was the books I had gotten or the friends I had made, the quality of my life has consistently increased manifold. At some point, I was bound to experience a compulsion to give something back. And, despite my time as a Tour Guide, and eventually member of the Book Data and Book Image teams, I don’t think I’ll ever feel as if I’ve given enough. That’s because with every successfully answered Live Help question, with each additional cover image or thoroughly detailed listing, I get just a little bit more out of the experience. I help make the Swap a better place, for myself as much as anyone. I help all sorts of members to improve their experience with the site. I like to think, at the end of the day, that I’m playing a small part in the larger overall effort to exchange books, stories, and ideas, so that every one of us can continue to enjoy the wonderful effects of the Swap on our lives. Considering how much I continue to get out of it, I know my contribution is small in comparison to the benefits of being a member. I came to grips with it a long time ago, that there’s just no keeping up with how amazing the Swap can be. And I’m ok with that. I may not ever repay those debts, but I sure can try. And that’s why I volunteer at PaperBackSwap.



In Celebration of our Wonderful PBS Volunteers – Why We Volunteer

Friday, January 13th, 2012

 Without our hardworking, dedicated volunteers, PBS would surely not be the wonderful site that it is. All week we will give you an overview of what our volunteers do and why.




We asked our volunteers to finish this sentence:

I volunteer at PBS because__________.


Elizabeth R. (esjro): PBS has given so much back to me:  new friends, laughter, and (most importantly) great books!


Rebecca and Keith (rocky1): I volunteer at PBS because I want others to find as much joy in reading as I do.


Robin K. (jubead): it is not what you give but what you get in return.  PBS gave me wonderful friends and memorable times so volunteering allows me to give back to the membership and site.


Giselle R. (Giselle): I would like to give back a little of what I got when I joined, great books, great guidance and of course the many wonderful friends I have made in the process.


Alisa F. (Greycat133): I love this site and what it does.  If my efforts can help bring people to love PBS as much as I do, then it is time well spent!



Shelia R. (MamaDragon3): it’s a simple way to give something back to a site I love and a service I adore.  PBS supplies me with two of life’s biggest necessities–good books and good friends.


Sarah (Delos): I like to give back to the place hat has given me so many books, therefore, enjoyment; to try to make it even better for future swappers.


Hunter S. (Hunter1): in helping others, I am also helping myself.  I have a strong desire to help others and when I satisfy that desire by volunteering, it’s a win/win for both me and those I help.  In addition, I have a strong desire to learn and by volunteering, I ultimately learn more about PBS and its members.


Troy D. (tdaulton): it satisfies my OCD monster.



Mary S. (MaryMary): I love this site and believe it’s one of the best sites on the internet (and helping out keeps it that way)!  I enjoy helping people and want other members’ time here to be as enjoyable as mine is.


Anna B. (classicana): I volunteer for all of the above reasons, PLUS, it helps me ignore the thing  I hate most — housework!  and especially vacuuming.  (Nature abhors a vacuum, and so do I).



Linda B. (herbalhorse): there is something about this site that is unique and I love being part of it.  Besides the obvious benefits of  getting some wonderful books, I have enjoyed the interaction with members from all walks of life, each with  their own point of view.  Some have become friends, some not, but all are valuable.



Lou B. (justloux): I volunteer at PBS because it’s FUN to find/correct/edit book data & images, being very like a digital puzzle to be completed/fixed.
Also because doing all this scratches my OCD itch. (LOL)

Emily E. (EmilyKat): I volunteer at PBS because it isn’t just a book exchange. It is a community. I love the feeling of being in a family that is all as book obsessed as I am.



Diane G. (icesk8tr):  I enjoy helping other members get addicted to the best bookswapping site there is, and because of the friendships I have made here. PBS is more than just books, it is a great community!



Kathy H. (Nellie): No wait. I volunteer at PBS because really, I just love books.


Tammy (CrystalRose): I volunteer at PBS because I enjoy the site and want to make it enjoyable for others.


Michael G. (doctorslime): Its nice to return the favor. It’s fun to meet cool people. Because if I didn’t I’d feel guilty, about all the cool books they have gotten me, and I didn’t get them anything in return.



Ronda K. (cakirkette): I volunteer at PBS because I enjoy the site so much myself, I want to help other people enjoy it too.



Cyn C. (Cyn-Sama): I volunteer because I enjoy helping other members, and because I am happy to give back to a site that has brought me so much joy.



Stephanie: I volunteer at PBS as my way of saying “thank you” for such a wonderful site that has allowed me to indulge my love of reading!


D. G. (riahekans): I volunteer at PBS because I need to give something back to a place that’s given me so much joy!



Patty P. (Patouie):I volunteer at PBS because it seems like a natural extension of some of the things I love in life.  Books… I love books, along with the world of computers.  And I’ve grown to feel a sense of community here.  I also am one of those odd ducks who reads the computer manual (and likes it!) so becoming familiar with the help docs was a given.  The big plus is that the help docs here are so well-written on this website.  I “get” the logic, at least most of the time.  So tour guiding — helping other members sort through a problem, or find their way around the site — wasn’t a big leap.When I started doing book data edits, that was another extension of things I already do.  Proofreading comes pretty easily.  My odd-duckyness also expresses itself in caring where the comma goes.  In a good way — I love the written word.  And then I learned how to work with book cover images — what a joy!  I’d never cropped an image before in my life before I started volunteering here.  Now I can wantonly manipulate them, if I choose. Bwah ha ha!I volunteer at PBS because it fits well with who I am, because of the people, and because I’ve learned so many new things here, such as how to work with images. I love the people, love the laughs and hugs, and love how it stretches me.



Jennifer K. (Fungurl1979): I love helping others and this site has made my life better.



 Christina B. (christinaholly): I love this site, and want others to as well.


Geri (geejay): I want to give back a bit of what I’ve received and still recieve.  Friendship, fun and most important help and companionship from people with similar interests.



Sianeka: I volunteer at PBS because I love PBS. I volunteer at PBS because I like to help out.



Amanda S. (ABCatHome): I volunteer at PBS because I have truly found my niche…helping people and feeding my book addiction!  I love being an integral part of a site where Admin Team truly cares about their membership and has worked diligently to make it the best book club ever!



Kim C. (kontessa): I believe we should serve in our communities and I love the PBS commity, so this is how I honor it.



Margaret (Yellowdogs1): I want to help others and also I want to give just a little bit back for all that I have received here.



Tiffany K. (tiffanyak): I volunteer at PBS because it is a great online community that has done so much for me, and it’s nice to be able to give something back. Also, I like being able to help those who need it, in any way I can.


June E. (junie): I really love to help members out and am happy to have made so many good friends here.


katzpawz: I volunteer here at PBS because of all the joy I have received as a member.  It seems really “right” to be giving back as a volunteer here.


Wendy H. (donkeycheese): I love the site and the people!


Virginia H. (holtzy): I believe in the power of reading and books.  It is wonderful to help others, but I’m especially thrilled that so many children have received books from our wonderful, generous members.  I also love the camaraderie of all of you, the friendships, encouragement and just tons of fun and laughing out loud until your stomach hurts times.  I also volunteer at PBS because I think this site is like a little piece of book heaven and I want everyone else to enjoy and appreciate it as much as I do.


Kay M. (maydayzee): I want to help the site be better, since it has given me so much for so little.



Cathy W. (Firefly): volunteering is a way of life for me.  Books have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember (and even longer than that, truth be told).  PBS gives me the ability to combine these two basic needs and have fun doing it!



Meghan (bookreadera): I believe our lives are measured not by what we have, but by what we give.  I also believe that while grand causes are great, it’s the simple kindnesses of the people around us every day that really make a difference in our lives.



James (JimiJam): I volunteer at PBS because, considering all that it’s done for me over the years, it’s the least I can do in return.



In Celebration of our Wonderful PBS Volunteers….Games Moderators

Thursday, January 12th, 2012


 Without our hardworking, dedicated volunteers, PBS would surely not be the wonderful site that it is. All week we will give you an overview of what our volunteers do and why.


Spotlight on Games Moderators

by Wendy H. (donkeycheese) 


I’ve been a volunteer games moderator for several years now.  I have to say it’s just as rewarding now as it was then.  I’ve made so many new friends and it feels good to give back.  Being a games moderator can also be very challenging.  Making rules are a group effort and for the common good, even though the players might not always see it that way.  Have I lost sleep as a games moderator? Definitely, but it’s only happened once or twice.  Those few instances were when we were about to instigate a new ‘big’ rule and the players didn’t understand why there had to be such a rule.   It’s hard to stay firm with a decision and still appease someone.  Sometimes, not everyone is happy, but I’ve learned over the course of the years that you can’t please everyone.

Playing the games, players either want rules or they don’t.  It’s hard to find anyone who will fit that mold in between.  Therefore, it becomes the team of games moderators job  to find that medium that will please everyone and still keep the games fun.  Generally, everyone plays well together and has a great time! You won’t find more kinder or generous people than those at PBS.

How much time goes into moderating the games? It’s a position that needs addressed daily, if not sometimes several times a day.  Each game is different how it is run, as well as the hostesses.  I don’t spend as much time now as I did then, but that is longevity not only from me but by several hostesses.  Things are a lot smoother and we have a great team!

For those that don’t know what a games moderator does, here’s an example.

1) Hostess PMs you with a game idea
2) You submit the idea to the games moderator team who will then a) see if any other games are taking sign-ups at that time for the same kind of swap b) does the credit deposit cover the swap?
3) Once approved, you send your hostess a PM
4) Once sign-ups close, hostess sends you the player list. You take this list and compare it to the Bad Swapper List.  Yes, unfortunately we have one of those.  Once it’s clear, you let the hostess know.
5) Hostess sends you the appropriate credits.  You send those to the games moderator account.  We don’t keep the credits in our own account.
6) When the swap ends, the hostess will PM you credit refund requests.  You refund them.  Sometimes this is a quick process and sometimes it takes a while – depending upon how many swaps you are moderating and how many credit refunds you need to make.

As a coordinator, I also make sure the other moderators don’t need any assistance and help out when they have questions or need a vacation.   As I said though, a game moderating is something I can’t foresee not doing – it’s something I love – through the ups and the downs! PBS gamers rock!







Fun Facts by Marie E  (MarieE)

We have 6 Games Moderators and 2 Games Moderator Leaders, we are all volunteers, and typically spend at least an hour a day doing the bookkeeping required to keeping the Games Forum up and running.

Our Games Moderator Leaders are:

Marie E. (MarieE)

Wendy H. (donkeycheese)


Our Games Moderators are:

Angela (bankerangie)

Carol P. (BookLover4Ever)

Caryn S. (Caryn9802)

Jenna B. (vailfiregirl)

Jenny R. (jennala9)

Karen S. (CacaoBear)

We, as Games Moderators, handle credit deposit and credit distributions.  When you join a game, you put up a credit deposit (normally 1 credit, but some games may require more depending on the requirements of the game), the credit deposit are used to make sure that you fulfill the requirements of the game.  Meaning you mail your book by the stated “Mail By” date and that book is in postable condition (per PBS) when it is received.  When you have fulfilled your requirements we (as Games Moderators) return your credit to you.

In the past 30 days I have personally deposited and distributed around 650 credits

The Games Moderator account for all games have deposited and distributed around 2,000 credits in the past 30 days and we normally have around 2,000 to 3,000 credits that we are holding for players in games.  Those numbers do vary month to month and day to day.

We also have around 50 games that are currently being played and there are always new games starting up.  Some games target specific books based on genre, wishlisted or non-wishlisted and other criteria.  Each game is unique in its requirements.

If you are curious about joining a game in the games forum, stop by and check us out.  We have several helpful threads to give you a general idea of how the games work.  The Updated Game Rules and Games Etiquette will give you a general idea of the rules for each game.  There is also a thread ***NEW GAMES*** Swaps Currently Taking Signups that will give you a list of games that are open for sign-ups.

If you are interested in joining a game and have questions, please feel free to send any of the Games Moderators your questions and we would be happy to walk you through the process.  Hosts of games are always looking for new players and will also help you walk through the steps of the game.


In Celebration of our wonderful PBS Volunteers….Data & Image Teams

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Without our hardworking, dedicated volunteers, PBS would surely not be the wonderful site that it is. All week we will give you an overview of what our volunteers do and why.




Today we cover Book Data & Book Image Teams

By Robin (Sianeka) Book Data Coordinator and Book Image Approver

What the Data and Image Teams Do

Data Team Members submit edits for the book details, adding missing information and revising incorrect data.  Data team members add book descriptions but also try to provide information such as the publisher, genre, number of pages, book dimensions as well as try to add some consistency to title and author information as it is presented in the database, so member searches are more productive and accurate.  A Data Team member will try to fill in ALL book data information with their submissions, researching data and trying to fill in any missing or blank data fields and will format information to match current database standards.

Team members often involve themselves in special Team projects to work on improving specific areas of the database, so that there are a group of Team members all working to reach a special goal.

Image Team Members seek out book cover images to replace the empty listings with the blue boxes and to replace poor quality images that are already in the database.  They will try to find clear and crisp images in .jpg format that meet the site’s size standards, and then crop them so that the image is visible without extra outside area displayed and without logos or photo glare or other flaws showing.

Both Team forums have guidelines posted to show site standards and help show new Team members what is expected from a submission that will be Approved and there are members around almost all the time to answer questions Team Members may have.

What the Data and Image Approvers Do

All data and image submissions need to be Approved before they actually appear on the site.Approvers are the Team Members charged with this important duty – reviewing the submissions sent in to assure they follow all the site’s guidelines before they show up on the site.

Data Approvers look over the submissions, and fix or revise submissions before approving them, or decline them gently with a polite note to the submitter to let them know why their submission isn’t able to be approved at this time.  Data Approvers will often research the information submitted to verify accuracy and seek to find the missing information that a submission may not have included.  Data Approvers try not to allow any submissions through that still contain blank fields or missing information. Data Approvers will ascertain that all submissions conform to match site formats set up (such as title, series information, author format) in order to make Searches work more better to bring up more complete and accurate results.

Image Approvers will make sure that submitted images clearly display a book cover that matches the PBS listing.  They will make sure that the image is oriented properly and displays clearly visible title and author information, and that the image is cropped so that only the cover is showing.  Image Approvers will often seek out larger or clearer images if a submission is not up to optimal quality or too small, or too blurry or obscured, and they often will crop the many uncropped submissions.  Image Approvers will often fix up or retouch images showing labels or blemishes or photo/image glare if they can’t find a better image to replace an image that is flawed.

Image and Data Team Approvers always come from the ranks of the Data Correctors or Image Collectors team members.  If a member has been a member of the Team for at least three months and wants to become a Data or Image Approver, they will notify a Team Coordinator, and then add submissions as usual that are reviewed for a time by other Approvers and Coordinators who will provide feedback and suggestions regarding their submissions.  Submissions are reviewed until the candidate’s submissions no longer receive any Feedback suggestions.  The member is then elevated to Approver status, and gains access to the Approver screens.

Data Correction and Image Collection Team members are a friendly and helpful group, and we have a lot of fun together while making the PBS listings much more useful to the PBS membership.

Joining the Image and Data Teams

Do you love to pay attention to details?  Do PBS Book listings that don’t show a cover image or have a book description bother you???   If you can answer YES to these questions, you should consider joining the PBS Image Collection and Data Correction Teams.

The Image and Data teams are made up of members who help improve the PBS database, making it more accurate and fun to look at!  Frequently, members will join both teams at the same time to help out in both areas, but if your expertise lies favoring one or the other, members can certainly join only one team at a time.  Both teams enthusiastically welcome new additions with open arms!   Team members who want to be even MORE involved with the process can sign up to be Team Approvers.  Approvers are members who review all the submissions that are submitted by club members and Team members to determine whether the submitted changes make it to the final PBS pages that all members see when they look at a book’s information.  We can ALWAYS use more help!

Any PBS member can submit Data Edits or Images for the database, but Team members get some special benefits that general member volunteers don’t have.  Team member benefits:

* Team members have access to special forums where there are team-specific topics and where team members can interact with other team members.  These are especially good for discussions of team problems for which the general membership would typically not involve themselves or have answers.  Team members can interact with other team members, who are all very friendly and helpful, and all interested in helping out the site, so they are a WONDERFUL resource when you have data and image questions and problems!
* Team members get special icons identifying them as team members.
* Team members can get information about new features and problems before the rest of the general membership.
* Team members can advance to become Approvers, should they be interested in this job.

Research shows that books with images and descriptions are much more likely to be requested more quickly than books missing this data!  Team volunteers help make all members’ books more desirable to the rest of the membership!

To Join the Teams:

* Contact a Coordinator for the team(s) you are interested in.  Data Team Coordinators are Anna B. (classicana) and Sianeka.  Image Team Coordinators are Sarra B. (sarradee), Betsy B. (Betz68) and Anna B. (classicana).
* Read and sign the PBS Non-Disclosure Agreement
* Submit a message via feedback letting PBS know you are interested in joining the team(s)

If you are interested in helping out, here are a couple of Discussion topic links that list a lot of additional information about the teams: http://www.paperbackswap.com/Want-Help-Data-Images-Find/topic/60867/ and http://www.paperbackswap.com/Time-Slot-Project-Volunteers-Part/topic/190591/ .

There are no quotas or minimums for joining – each member volunteers at their own pace and can submit as often or as little as they like.  There are no pressures to do more than you can handle, and each member determines their own time schedule for themselves, submitting whenever they feel they can help. Team members can be as active as they want, and their efforts are greatly appreciated!




In Celebration of our Wonderful PBS Volunteers… Tour Guides

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

 Without our hardworking, dedicated volunteers, PBS would surely not be the wonderful site that it is. All week we will give you an overview of what our volunteers do and why.



Today we start with Tour Guides



Spotlight on PBS Volunteers – Tour Guides

By Diane G. (icesk8tr)  Tour Guide Coordinator 

When you joined PaperBackSwap, you were assigned a personal Tour Guide!  (That is if you joined after February 2006). What many members don’t know is that all of the Tour Guides are regular members that have volunteered to help out other members with questions they may have as they are just getting started. There is a lot going on at PaperBackSwap, and a lot to learn when you first join, even after you have been a member for a while something may confuse you, and the PBS Team is constantly making improvements and changes to PaperBackSwap. Your Tour Guide is a great resource to help you with questions you may have as you are enjoying your membership!

We have a great group of Tour Guides, and always welcome new volunteers to help with member’s questions. With all the new members, at least some are bound to have questions, and everyone will get answers faster if more people are available to ask!


What do Tour Guides do?

* Be the first person a new member will interact with when they join the site! (each new member is assigned a personal Tour Guide to consult with any questions)

* Answer questions from your assigned new members

* Take Live Help questions from members  (Live Help PMs may come in to you when you are online–Live Help is a big part of Tour Guiding)

* You do have the ability to put your duties on hold when you are on vacation, or unavailable to help.

* Visit New Member Chat to greet and help new members

* Chill in the Tour Guide Private Lounge

* Get to wear a cool TG volunteer icon on their profiles and forum posts

Some of our Tour Guides do a lot with their new members, some just answer questions when they come in, some like to chat, some like to help out by answering questions in the regular forums…Tour Guiding can be as individual as the Guide himself or herself.


If anyone is interested in volunteering to be a PBS Tour Guide, all it takes is:

* Having been a PBS member for at least 3 months

* Have a PBS nickname

* Signing the PBS Non-Disclosure Agreement

* Passing the Tour Guide Quiz (not too tough, we promise!)

* A willingness to help other members solve problems/learn how to use the site

Anyone who is interested in becoming a Tour Guide can contact Diane G. (icesk8tr) for the link to sign the NDA and then after having done that, I will give you access to the Quiz. It is an enjoyable experience, and as I said, we have a great group of Tour Guide volunteers! They have been wonderful at helping members with their questions!



In Celebration of our Wonderful Volunteers – Message from the PBS Team

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Volunteers are the HEART of PBS

by Deana F. (PBSDeana)


We have a small internal Team, so we depend on our volunteers to help us keep the site running smoothly for everyone. They help us make sure we have correct book information, images, track games, and help new members to the site find their way around.  We are proud to say we have over 500 volunteers!


PBS Volunteers By the Numbers:

  Book Data Correctors – 163

 Book Data Approvers – 30

 Book Data Coordinators – 2

Editing book data involves the important work of correcting mistakes in the PBS database.  They correct everything from author name, title, and genre to providing more thorough book descriptions for us.  They also determine abridged or unabridged versions of audio books, plus much more.   Having the right information is crucial on a site like ours, and this detailed work is very much appreciated.


 Book Image Collection Volunteers – 228

 Book Image Collection Approvers – 17

 Book Image Collection coordinators – 3

The Book Image Collection team helps do away with the ugly, boring, no-image found, default blue cover.  We love to see plenty of colorful book cover images on the site and they do a fantastic job.


 Game Moderators – 6

 Game Moderator Leader – 2

If there’s anything a PBS member likes as much as reading, it’s playing games with their fellow book-lovers.  The Games Mods keep track of all the pending games, credit deposits and keep the fun rolling (or should we say swapping)!


 Tour Guides – 91

  Tour Guide Leaders – 13

 Tour Guide Assistant Coordinators – 3

 Tour Guide Coordinator – 1

And last but not least, our wonderful and patient Tour Guides.  A tour guide helps new members navigate the site and answer questions as they arise.  They also answer the New Member Questions in Live Chat.  We feel that providing new members with a tour guide to welcome them and answer questions gives a personal touch and ensures they can start swapping books confidently.


These volunteers put in immeasurable hours of work.  The PBS experience is so much richer and more satisfying for all members due to the efforts of our volunteers.  We are not just a website about swapping books.  Over the years, we’ve become a community for members to share their love of reading, their life experiences and to make new friends both online and in person.

We know how much work goes into all of these projects and we wouldn’t be able to keep up without our tour guides, games mods, book image collectors, and book data correctors.  We appreciate your gifts of time, energy and enthusiastic support.  I know we don’t say thank you enough to all of our volunteers but please know that we are so grateful to each and every one of you.  It truly “takes a village” and we couldn’t do it without you.

We look forward to working with you in the New Year and thank you for making PBS a better place!


Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless,

but because they’re priceless.

 ~Sherry Anderson