Volunteering at the library vs at a research lab??

So, all my friends are well-connected and have parents who will drive them to cool summer volunteer programs at science institutes. One of my friends’ dad got her into a position to research at a medical lab with him. All I can do right now is volunteer at the library, because it’s close to me and my parents have no time to drive me anywhere.
What do colleges think between an applicant who volunteers at a lab vs a kid who volunteers at the local library? I have 60 hours, but all my friends have a good amount of hours at better places.
I really feel like my time at the library is being wasted. Yeah, I love helping the community, but my interests would be better spent somewhere else. The problem is, I live in the suburbs, all other opportunities are either just as menial as the library or too far away for my parents to drive me.
I know this is an extremely negative way to think. I just can’t feel happy about my volunteer location when everyone else is working on actual research and science. How should I feel, and what should I do? :frowning:

If you are into literature, then volunteering at a library is a great way to show your dedication to colleges. But if you are interested in science, which it seems as though you are, a research lab would look better on resumes and would probably benefit you more in terms of the actual experience. If there is no logistical way for you to do that, don’t sweat it! Most people who go into research-heavy fields don’t have experience in high school. Do what you can now. If volunteering at the library is all that is available, at least you are taking advantage of that opportunity.
If you do really want to work in a lab, could you ask your friends if you could carpool with them? That might be a good way to get there without your parents needing to drive you. Also, is there public transport? In my suburban neighborhood, I can get to nearby towns fairly easily by being driven a few minutes away to a bus stop. But I think that asking your friends for help commuting might be a pretty strong option.
In addition, there are always residential programs for the summer. Most are either expensive or highly competitive, but if you have the motivation to work in a lab, that would definitely be something to look into for next summer.
I hope this helps at all! Like I said, if this isn’t possible, it’s really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. If you are interested in medicine, you could try volunteering at a hospital (if there is one nearby).

Volunteer where you can. Admissions people understand that everyone has different circumstances. Keep up the good work at the library. You might consider adding something like tutoring at a nearby school, working at a hospital, starting a program at a community center, etc. A job is also good experience.

If you are genuinely interested in research, you can look for a summer program on mysummeradvisor.com. Don’t do it just to have it on your application. However, if you find something you are really excited about, you might be able to fundraise for your travel costs or fees. Adults are usually generous in encouraging young people’s goals.