Home Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library Policies Volunteer Program

Hillsborough County
Department of Library Services
Policies and Procedures Manual

Subject: Volunteer Program

Effective: October 1, 2016

Supercedes: 3/28/2013

  1. Purpose:
    1. This policy outlines the procedures for recruitment, processing, utilization, retention, and recognition of community volunteers who donate their time and talents to help offer more services to the public at no additional cost.
  2. Policy:
    1. Volunteers are not recruited to replace salaried employees. They are to be used to enhance activities and programs and are to be encouraged to bring their talents and experience to Library Services in meaningful ways.
    2. Library Services actively recruits volunteers and provides a receptive climate for volunteers.
    3. See also policies and procedures LS 1103 Literacy Program.
  3. Procedure:
    1. Volunteer types include but are not limited to:
      1. General Volunteers
      2. Community Service for Schools
      3. Court Ordered Community Service
      4. Friends of the Library
    2. Volunteer Processing
      1. Library Services has a designated System Volunteer Coordinator, based in Library Administration, to oversee the volunteer program. Duties include training and mentoring library staff, recruiting and processing volunteers, mentoring, developing policy and procedure, creating recognition programs, and overseeing meetings of Branch Volunteer Coordinators.
      2. Each branch/department has a designated Branch Volunteer Coordinator to manage its local volunteer program, including volunteer intake and processing, training volunteers and managing their performance; retention and release of volunteers; record keeping, and other duties as appropriate.
      3. When individuals express interest in volunteering they will be directed to the branch/department where they would like to volunteer.
        1. On arrival, the Branch Volunteer Coordinator will provide prospective volunteers with a Library Services Volunteer Application, ask about the type of jobs they would be interested in performing, and hours available. If the Branch Volunteer Coordinator is not available, the customer will be directed to the information desk, where staff will assist them.
        2. Mandated community service workers will be considered by all library sites, provided:
          1. They meet the background check requirements.
          2. They require a minimum of 20 hours served.
        3. The applicant will complete the Library Services Volunteer Application and give to staff or take the form with them and return it at a later date.
        4. Staff will either tell the applicant they will be notified within two weeks about volunteer possibilities, or if there are no immediate openings, offer to place them on the waiting list for up to 6 months.
        5. Applicants may not start work the same day as submitting the application. All applicants must meet with the Branch Volunteer Coordinator in person for a brief interview prior to starting work.
      4. When the Branch Volunteer Coordinator receives the completed Volunteer Application, they perform a background check, following the procedures on the Branch Volunteer’s instruction sheet.
        1. If an applicant is determined ineligible based on the background check, staff will notify the applicant. All rejected applications are immediately shredded.
          1. The Library reserves the right to reject an applicant based on their criminal background.
          2. Adjudicated offenses from the last 10 years that disqualify a community service worker include, but are not limited to:
            • a. Violent/Sexual crimes - murder, manslaughter, rape, felony assault, battery, hate crimes, inclusion in the FDLE sexual offender database.
            • b. Property crimes - robbery, burglary, larceny, theft, vandalism, destruction of property.
            • c. Arson.
            • d. Fraud, identity theft, extortion.
            • e. Manufacture, distribution, sale, or felony-level possession of drugs.
            • f. Felony weapons offenses.
            • g. Trespass violation.
            • h. Violations of the library’s Code of Conduct.
          3. All other offenses are considered on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Regional Manager.
        2. Following a background check, eligible volunteer candidates are contacted by the Branch Volunteer Coordinator to complete the volunteer packet and
          1. If there is an immediate opening, sets up a time and date to report to work and provides the name of the staff member to contact at the branch/department.
          2. If there is no immediate opening, the individual is placed on the waiting list for up to 6 months. The list is checked monthly for openings, and the applicant is encouraged to check back periodically with the branch/department.
        3. When a volunteer reports for duty, they are given an informational volunteer kit (available on the staff intranet).
    3. Volunteer Assignments
      1. No volunteer will be expected to work until fully trained on the job.
      2. The Branch Volunteer Coordinator will maintain a file for each volunteer of all completed forms and information.
      3. Volunteers may work for a maximum of five hours per day, unless otherwise approved by the Regional Manager.
      4. Volunteers may perform any assigned task for which they are qualified and approved by the supervisor or manager. Sample tasks are listed below. More job descriptions are available in the volunteer training material.
        1. Administrative Support
        2. Program Support
        3. Material Management and Shelving
        4. Mentoring and Tutoring
        5. Cleaning, straightening
        6. Friends of the Library projects
        7. Special events and projects
    4. Volunteer Sign-in
      1. Volunteers must have staff verification when signing in to report to work and signing out when leaving work using the Volunteer Timesheet.
      2. Volunteers are responsible for returning any outside sign-in sheets to the appropriate agency once completed by staff.
      3. Monthly statistics are to be sent to appropriate library departments by the Branch Volunteer Coordinator.
    5. Insurance & Workers' Compensation:
      1. Volunteers are covered by Hillsborough County’s Workers’ Compensation.
    6. Age Requirements
      1. Volunteers 13-17 years of age must have their parent or guardian sign the Volunteer Application confirming approval of their child volunteering.
      2. Volunteers between 13-15 years of age must be an active member of the Teen Advisory Board (TAB).
    7. Volunteers Related to Library Employees
      1. Volunteer candidates related to library employees or residing in the same household are subject to the conditions specified in the County’s HR policies and procedures
      2. Individuals may not volunteer at a branch or department that is supervised by or is the work site for a library employee to which they are related.
      3. Any exceptions must be approved by a member of library administration not related to the volunteer applicant.
    8. Volunteer Recruitment
      1. Volunteers are recruited on an ongoing basis.
      2. Potential volunteers are often recruited through:
        1. Asking library customers if they would be interested in helping out.
        2. Friends of the Library groups.
        3. Signs in the branches, brochures, and the library web site.
        4. Community meetings or other outreach events.
        5. System wide promotional programs.
    9. Volunteer Recognition
      1. Volunteer recognition is a priority of the Library system.
      2. 2) Recognition programs are organized by Branch Volunteer Coordinators together with Branch Supervisors and Regional Managers and are to be accomplished at least once a year.
        1. Types of recognition include but are not limited to:
          1. Certificates of recognition
          2. Volunteer Appreciation events
          3. Small prizes and/or gift awards
          4. Book Plates
      3. Volunteers with 100 service hours or more receive special recognition.
        1. Branch Volunteer Coordinator notifies System Volunteer Coordinator when volunteer has reached 100 or more hours of service in a calendar year and submits a 100-hour plus form.
        2. Volunteers with 100-999 hours of service will receive a book plate honoring their service. The book plate will be sent to TSC for inclusion in recent library material acquisitions. The volunteer will receive a copy of the book plate with a letter of appreciation from the Library.
        3. Volunteers with service hours of 1000 or more receive formal recognition by the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library Board during an annual volunteer recognition reception.
    10. Volunteer Evaluation
      1. Volunteer performance will be evaluated periodically by the Branch Volunteer Coordinator.
      2. Branch Volunteer Coordinator will continually mentor, coach and train the volunteer.
      3. Issues with a volunteer’s performance will be brought to the attention of the Branch Volunteer Coordinator as well as Branch Supervisor and documented on the evaluation form to be reviewed with the volunteer.
      4. If the volunteer’s performance does not improve, the Branch Volunteer Coordinator, in agreement with the Branch/Department Supervisor and Regional Manager, will inform the volunteer their services are no longer required.
    11. End of Service
      1. Branch Volunteer Coordinator customizes the volunteer thank you letter (available in packet) and sends via mail or email to the volunteer.
      2. The end date is added to the volunteer’s application.
      3. Branch Volunteer Coordinator retains the volunteer’s file for a three-year period as required by State of Florida document retention guidelines. All forms are to be shredded at the end of the retention period.
    12. Branch/Department Supervisor Responsibilities
      1. Manage their branch/department volunteer program.
      2. Ensure that staff are properly trained to work with volunteers, familiar with the policies and procedures, and create an inviting atmosphere for volunteers.
      3. Organize at least one volunteer recognition program a year in consultation with Branch Volunteer Coordinator.
      4. Provide tasks for the volunteers that correspond with the needs of the branch.
      5. Clearly communicate what is expected of the volunteers to the entire branch team as well as the volunteers.
    13. Regional Manager Responsibilities
      1. Ensure their branches have an active volunteer program.
      2. Ensure their Branch/Department Supervisors are following all policies and procedures.
  4. Authority:

    Pursuant to Section 5(1) of Chapter 84-443, Laws of Florida, the Library Board has the duty and the responsibility, among others, to serve in a recommending capacity to the Director of Library Services and to the County Administrator in respect to all matters pertaining to the public library.