Volunteer Policy

Statement of Purpose

The East Lansing Public Library shall use the services of volunteers to supplement the efforts of paid library staff in meeting demands for quality public service. Volunteers aid the library in making the best use of its fiscal resources and contribute to sound working relationships with community groups and organizations. Volunteers are liaisons to the community and by their contribution are advocates for quality library service. The library and its volunteers work together to meet the goals and mission of the organization.
Volunteers are expected to act in accordance with library policies and to reflect positive customer service attitudes to all library patrons.

The East Lansing Public Library shall make use of the services of interested volunteers to supplement and not to replace the work done by library staff.

Definition of a Volunteer

A volunteer shall be considered as any individual, 12 years of age or older, who contributes time, energy and talents directly or on behalf of the East Lansing Public Library and is not paid by Library funds.
All volunteers must be accepted by the library prior to performance of assigned tasks. (See "How to Become a Volunteer")

How to Become a Volunteer

• All volunteers are required to fill out a Volunteer Application Form.
• The Volunteer Coordinator will review the completed application form.
• Volunteers are selected based on their qualifications in relation to the needs of the library at any given time.
• Volunteers under consideration may be subject to a background check.
• If selected, volunteers will be contacted for an interview.
• If not selected, applications will be kept on file for six months.
• Volunteers under age eighteen must have the application signed by a parent or legal guardian.
• Acceptance of an application is at the library’s discretion


Each volunteer will have an on-site supervisor and is expected to follow the procedures established by that staff member. This supervisor is responsible for day-to-day management and guidance of a volunteer's work and will be available for consultation and assistance. Volunteers should feel free to ask any questions of this person or report any problems or concerns about their assignment. If this supervisor is not available, the volunteer may also discuss any changes or problems with the Volunteer Coordinator.

Volunteers are expected to perform their assigned duties to the best of their abilities and to be loyal to the mission, values, goals and policies of the library. All volunteers should keep their supervisor informaed of their projects and work status, and of their comings and goings in the library.

Job Orientation and Training

Before beginning a volunteer assignment, the supervisor in charge will be responsible for the following:
• Take the volunteer on a tour of the building;
• Introduce volunteer to library staff;
• Review library and volunteer policies;
• Review job duties and expectations;
• Confirm work dates, times, and anticipated duration of the assignment;
• Supply volunteer with a name tag and review sign-in and sign-out procedures;
• Provide training on any new skills needed to perform assigned tasks;
• Discuss procedures for obtaining, using, and caring for needed supplies;
• Provide safety orientation;
• Review locations of parking, restrooms, water fountains, soda machines, first aid kits, and places for personal items such as purses/coats, etc.

Volunteer Opportunities

Tasks that may be performed by volunteers are listed below, however not all opportunities are available at all times.
• Shelve books and other materials
• Dust books and shelves
• Shelf read
• Clean materials
• Help with programs and projects
• Process new materials
• Garden projects or maintenance
• Clerical tasks

The Friends of the Library

The Friends of the Library is a volunteer organization established as a 501 (c) (3). A Board of Directors sets their policies and oversees their operations and expenditures. The Board or its designee is responsible for their volunteers. If a problem arises with one of their volunteers violating this policy, the Library Director will take the issue to the Friends' Board for action.

Guidelines for Volunteers

1. Volunteers work hours at the library when supervisors are readily available. The number of volunteers accepted is based on the amount of work and supervisory time available.
2. Volunteers should notify their supervisor or the Volunteer Coordinator as soon as possible of they know they will be late or absent.
3. Volunteers must sign in and sign out of the volunteer notebook.
4. Volunteers should always wear their name badges while working in the library.
5. Volunteers are ambassadors for the library and need to present a positive image to the public. It is expected that each volunteer's dress and grooming will be appropriate for a business environment and in keeping with his or her work assignment. If a volunteer is dressed in an inappropriate manner, they may not be able to work their shift.
6. Volunteers should maintain a professional, friendly demeanor at all times and are asked to direct all questions to a staff member. Staff members are trained to deal with questions about the library's collection, services, policies and procedures.
7. Volunteers are responsible for updating personal data, such as change of address or telephone number, etc., with the Volunteer Coordinator.
8. Volunteers who are family members of library staff may not be placed under the direct supervision of their family member.
9. Volunteers will be familiar with and agree to abide by the library’s Confidentiality of Library Records policy, as well as all other library rules and policies.
10. Volunteers agree that the library may at any time, for whatever reason, decide to terminate the volunteer's relationship with the library, or to make changes in the nature of their volunteer assignment.
11. Library owned equipment and supplies are for library use only and may not be used for personal business.
12. Volunteers are asked to be alert at all times to safety hazards and to report unsafe acts or conditions to their supervisor. Volunteers should also notify their supervisors of any assignment which causes physical discomfort or which could lead to personal injury. All injuries, whether minor or serious, must be reported directly to your supervisor or the Volunteer Coordinator.
13. Volunteers who are interested in paid employment with the library should apply through the City of East Lansing's Human Resources Department and will compete with all other applicants responding to notices for available positions.
14. Volunteers who fail to meet the requirements of the job descriptions, violate library policies, or violate city, local, state or federal law while working at the library, are subject to dismissal.
15. To end a volunteer commitment, please notify your supervisor or the Volunteer Coordinator of that decision and the effective date.
16. Use of alcohol or illegal drugs in the workplace is prohibited, as is the abuse of any drug or alcohol, or reporting for duty under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
17. All volunteers, employees, supervisors, and members of management, both male and female, are strictly prohibited from sexually harassing or making improper advances towards other volunteers, guests, employees, supervisors, or members of management. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome or unsolicited verbal, physical, or sexual conduct that is made a term of condition of service or employment, is used as the basis of employment or advancement of decision, or has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with work or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. Any sexual harassment needs to be reported immediately to the volunteer's supervisor or the Volunteer Coordinator.
18. Volunteers required to perform court-ordered community service should contact the City of East Lansing 54-B District Court, community Services.
19. The supervisor may meet with the volunteer regularly to review job performance. Evaluations may be formal or informal and may be written or verbal.

Approved by the Library Board of Trustees on January 28, 2009.

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