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Volunteer Program Policy

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This policy is a system-wide policy for application to all libraries within the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library System.

Volunteering for the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library (B&ECPL) can be a rewarding and exciting experience.  Volunteer time, energy and goodwill are invaluable assets to the B&ECPL because volunteerism enhances the B&ECPL’s ability to fulfill its mission by providing opportunities for direct public participation in library services.  Volunteerism also strengthens and deepens B&ECPL’s relationships throughout the community.  Volunteer opportunities offer citizens a way to contribute to the community, fulfill personal goals, achieve a sense of satisfaction, and learn more about the Library.

Volunteers help the B&ECPL expand and enrich its services.

We support the effective utilization of volunteers as a way to:

  1. Welcome talented and dedicated community members who wish to serve the B&ECPL;
  2. Perform valuable daily tasks;
  3. Add value to new and existing programs;
  4. Promote public awareness of library services;
  5. Increase involvement and support of the Library by the public; and
  6. Connect with the community.   

Volunteers shall be accepted without regard to any individual’s age, race, creed, color, national origin, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, disability, military or veteran status, predisposing genetic characteristics or genetic information, domestic violence victim status, physical appearance, or any legally protected characteristic.

Volunteers under the age of 17 will be designated as Junior Volunteers and must have parental approval to volunteer.  Junior Volunteers must have direct supervision by a staff member or an adult volunteer who has successfully completed the volunteer application process, including a background check.

Volunteers may not:

  1. Perform activities that could reveal confidential patron information;
  2. Use the Integrated Library System (ILS).

Volunteers are expected to adhere to any applicable policies and practices regarding schedules, attendance, conduct, performance, safety procedures, proper attire, etc.  Volunteers and Junior Volunteers can be released from volunteer duties at any time at the discretion of the B&ECPL.

The B&ECPL does not provide volunteers with compensation, medical or health benefits, accident or worker’s compensation.

To encourage volunteerism and to ensure a positive experience at the library, the library will:

  1. Provide a staff person designated to administer the volunteer program;
  2. Provide written position descriptions and procedures for all volunteer tasks;
  3. Provide orientation and training to prepare the volunteers to perform their duties;
  4. Provide volunteer supervision in accordance with sound supervisory practices and Library policies and procedures;
  5. Maintain volunteer information, including hours served; and
  6. Exhibit the library’s appreciation for service through a recognition program.

Individuals interested in volunteering at the B&ECPL must fill out a Volunteer Application and a Volunteer Liability Waiver and Release form.  Volunteers will be accepted based on the library’s project and programmatic needs matched with the individuals’ qualifications/interests as determined during the selection process.  The library may not accept every volunteer application.  A background check and/or reference checking may be required before any volunteer can begin an assignment.  All volunteers are required to execute a Volunteer Code of Ethics agreement that will govern their actions on behalf of the Library. 

Each volunteer will have a staff member assigned as an on-site supervisor and is required to follow the procedures established by that supervisor.  The supervisor is responsible for management and guidance of a volunteer’s responsibilities, establishing a schedule and tracking hours, and is available for guidance and assistance.  All volunteers should keep their supervisor informed of their projects and service status, and of any schedule changes.


Adopted October 20, 2005.
Amended May 18, 2006.
Reviewed by Policy Committee April 23, 2009 – no changes.
Amended September 17, 2015 per Resolution 2015-27.