Policy on Work in the Library Carried Out by Volunteers

Context:  Retirees and others often approach the Library asking if volunteer work is available.  The purpose of this policy is to: 1)  encourage the use of volunteers in ways that will both help the Library in performing its work and also benefit the volunteer; 2) ensure that critical functions of the Library are not dependent on volunteer work; and 3) restrict certain Library operations dealing with fiscal and human resource matters to employees of the Library.  

 

Encourage the use of volunteers in ways that will both help the Library in performing its work and also benefit the volunteer 

The Library encourages the use of volunteers in ways that will help the Library in performing its work and also benefit the volunteer.  However, in seeking this balance the Library should always err on the side of helping the Library in performing its work in an efficient and effective manner.  The benefit of the volunteer is secondary.  It is the Library that sets the conditions under which a volunteer will contribute: the hours when supervision for the volunteer is available, the tasks assigned to the volunteer, the physical place where the volunteer carry out the tasks assigned, and when a volunteer’s services are no longer required.  All volunteers should be able to work in a secure, safe environment.  

 

Ensure that critical functions of the Library are not dependent on volunteer work 

While encouraging use of volunteers, it bears emphasis that Library employees are responsible for the critical functions of the Library.  These critical functions include, but may not be limited to providing direct service to patrons in the form of reference assistance, circulation desk work, library instruction sessions (not including tours), collection development, cataloging, and administrative duties.  Although some volunteers may even have had prior professional library experience, there are several reasons why allowing any volunteer to perform critical functions is not in the Library’s interest. 

 

Restrict certain Library operations dealing with fiscal and human resource matters to employees of the Library 

Under no circumstances should volunteers be entrusted with any type of fiscal control over Library resources.  This includes the possession of keys for library units, cash receipt and disbursement, handling of checks for payables and receivables, management of collections funds, ability to gain access to any online accounting system or human resources system, and access to personnel files. Volunteers will also not be permitted to remove any Library property from the Library. 

 

Documentation Required for Volunteers 

Volunteers should be registered with the AUL for Services. In registering a volunteer the unit head will send an e-mail or memo that provides:

 

The volunteer will also receive a copy of the memo.  

The status of volunteers will be reviewed on a semi-annual basis.  

Approved by Admin. Council 4/03


 

Back to Policies

Back to Office of Services