Volunteer Policy

Overall Policy on the Use of Volunteers

The achievement of the goals of the Dartmouth Public Libraries is best served by the active participation of citizens of the community. To this end the libraries accepts and encourages the involvement of volunteers within all appropriate programs and activities. All staff are encouraged to assist in the creation of meaningful and productive roles in which volunteers might serve and to assist in recruitment of volunteers from the community.

Role of Volunteer Management

The productive use of volunteers requires a planned and organized effort. The volunteer coordinator(s) assist in recruiting suitable volunteers and in tracking and evaluating the contribution of volunteers to the libraries.

Definition of "Volunteer"

A volunteer is anyone who without compensation or expectation of compensation performs a task at the direction of and on behalf of the libraries. A volunteer must be officially accepted and enrolled by the library prior to the performance of the task. The library accepts the service of all volunteers with the understanding that such service is at the sole discretion of the library. Volunteers agree that the agency may at any time, for whatever reason, decide to terminate the volunteer's relationship with the libraries.

Scope of Volunteer Involvement

Volunteers should not be used to displace any paid employees from their positions.

The SAILS Library Network Circulation Policy, January 2008 prohibits the use of volunteers at the circulation desk. The policy reads as follows, "Volunteers in public libraries are prohibited from working at the circulation desk and accessing patron records, payments, etc. The SAILS database is a shared resource. Staff members agree to comply with existing network policies about patron privacy and appropriate use. Volunteers cannot be disciplined in the same manner as paid staff if they do not comply with network policies."

Maintenance of Records

A system of records will be maintained on each volunteer with the libraries, including applications, CORI request forms, dates of service, positions held, duties performed, and evaluation of work. Volunteer personnel records shall be accorded the same confidentiality as staff personnel records.

Position Descriptions

Volunteer staff, just as paid staff, require a clear, complete, and current description of the duties and responsibilities of the position which they are expected to fill. Prior to any volunteer assignment or recruitment effort, a position description must be developed for each volunteer position.


Volunteers shall be recruited by the libraries on a pro-active basis, with the intent of broadening and expanding the volunteer involvement of the community. Volunteers shall be recruited without regard to gender, handicap, age, or other condition. The sole qualification for volunteer recruitment shall be suitability to perform a task on behalf of the libraries. Minors (under the age of sixteen) must have the written consent of a parent or guardian prior to volunteering.

Criminal Records Check

All volunteers must submit to a Criminal Offense Record Investigation (CORI) check. Volunteers who do not agree to the background check will be refused assignments.


In placing a volunteer in a position, attention shall be paid to the interest and capabilities of the volunteer and to the requirements of the volunteer position. No placement shall be made unless the requirements of both the volunteer and supervising staff can be met: no volunteer should be assigned to a "make-work" position and no position should be given to an unqualified or uninterested volunteer.

Acceptance and Appointment

Service as a volunteer with the libraries shall begin with an official letter of acceptance or appointment to a volunteer position. No volunteer shall begin performance of any position until they have been officially accepted for that position and have completed all necessary screening and paperwork.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead