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 will 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.
- The volunteer is not an employee of the Library and therefore the Library has little control over the volunteer’s actions, other than dissolving the volunteer relationship;
- The various unions would have a solid basis to object to volunteers supplanting unionized employees in areas where unionized employees should be working;
- The volunteer must be trained and supervised. The training and supervision by the Library should not exceed the benefit gained from the volunteer;
- The volunteer may not keep up with key standards and policies in the critical area, requiring additional training and supervision by the Library.
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. The AUL for User Services must approve the activities to be performed by the volunteer BEFORE the volunteer begins the activities. In registering a volunteer the unit head will send an e-mail or memo that provides:
- the volunteer’s name and contact information;
- place where the volunteer will be working;
- a description of the work to be done;
- who will supervise the volunteer’s work; and
- how many hours the volunteer will work.
The volunteer will also receive a copy of the memo and must confirm, by signing,
- The volunteer is only acting as a volunteer and will not be paid for any activities performed.
- The volunteer understands and agrees to hold the Library harmless from any and all claims, loss or damage to their personal property, liabilities and costs, including attorney’s fees, as a result of their participation as a volunteer.
The status of volunteers will be reviewed on a semi-annual basis.
Approved by Admin. Council 12/2017