Service Policy: Volunteers
I. Purpose of Volunteer Program and Scope of Policy
The Fargo Public Library volunteer program is designed to expand and enhance public service to the community. Volunteers generally provide support services to regular library staff, work on special projects, or deliver library materials to the offsite locations. Volunteers are expected to act in accordance with library policies and to reflect positive customer service attitudes to all library patrons. This policy covers volunteers for the Fargo Public Library exclusively and does not include volunteers of auxiliary or affiliated organizations.
II. Historical Benefit of Volunteer Program
The Fargo Public Library itself was started by the effort of volunteers working together to establish and provide library service to the citizens of Fargo. Over the past century, volunteers have provided countless hours of service that has allowed the library to go beyond core services in its efforts to serve the community. The volunteer program was formalized and authorized by the Library Board of Directors in 1995.
III. The Volunteer's Role
The role of volunteers is to supplement paid staff in order to provide additional services. Volunteers are not to be used as substitutes for paid staff and are not be solely responsible for core library functions. Volunteers do not have the authority to make decisions that are properly the responsibility of professional librarians. Volunteers will fulfill some basic clerical roles, but not those tasks involving confidential patron information.
IV. Management of Volunteers
The volunteer coordinator is responsible for the recruitment, orientation, and placement of volunteers. Volunteers will be trained and supervised by the library staff member(s) of the particular department in which the volunteer is placed. The hours worked by volunteers are to be determined by the departmental supervisors. Volunteers will follow the standards of conduct expected of library employees as outlined in the City of Fargo Personnel Policy.
V. Length of Volunteer Placement
The duration of the volunteer commitment can be either short-term for specific projects or programs, or long-term. If a volunteer does not contribute four hours of work for a three-month period, that volunteer will be considered to have resigned from the volunteer program and the placement can be transferred to another volunteer. While the volunteer relationship can be terminated at any time by either party, some volunteer positions require a minimum length of service commitment.
VI. Volunteer Security Issues
Persons applying for the volunteer library program may be asked to provide references and/or provide information so that a background check can be performed. In the event a background check is performed, acceptance into the volunteer program is contingent upon library staff receiving a satisfactory report on a background check. With respect to volunteers assigned to a specific library facility, those volunteers may only perform volunteer duties when supervisory library staff members are present in the department. Access to City of Fargo networks and computers will be subject to the security policies of the City's Information Technology department. Upon resignation, volunteers must return any city property issued to them including badges and fobs.
VII. Requisite Skills and Abilities of Volunteers
Positions where volunteers can be of use to the library will have position descriptions including the required knowledge, skills and abilities. Potential volunteers will be evaluated for acceptance into the volunteer program based on their abilities to fulfill the needed requirements in the volunteer position descriptions.
VIII. Coordination with External Agencies
The library cannot accept the services of individuals ordered by the courts to perform community service. Other volunteer placement program applicants will be evaluated on a case by case basis by the volunteer coordinator in conjunction with library administration.