Dubuque County Library District

Volunteer Policy
The Dubuque County Library District appreciates the contributions of volunteers to its operations. The Library and its volunteers work together to meet the goals and mission of the organization. As with regular staff, volunteers are expected to act in accordance with library policies and applicable laws and to reflect a positive public service attitude to all library patrons. Volunteers are used to supplement, not replace, work done by paid 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 Dubuque County Library District, and is not paid by Library funds.

All volunteers must fill out an application form prior to performing any tasks. Filling out an application does not guarantee that an individual will be contacted for volunteer service, as the need for volunteers can vary greatly depending on the season, and also because individual skills may not match the tasks at hand.

How to Become a Volunteer

• Persons interested in volunteering are required to fill out a Volunteer Application Form.
• The Library Director will review completed application forms and share information with library staff regarding possible volunteers.
• Volunteers may be subject to a background check.
• Volunteer applicants under age eighteen must have their application signed by a parent or legal guardian.


Each volunteer will work with a supervisory staff member and is expected to follow the procedures established by that individual. The staff member or designee 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 or report any problems or concerns about their assignment to the supervising staff member.

Volunteers are expected to perform their assigned duties to the best of their abilities. All volunteers should keep the supervisory staff member informed regarding their projects and work status, and of their comings and goings in the library.

Orientation and Training

Before beginning a volunteer assignment, the staff member in charge will be responsible for the following, not all of which are applicable at every branch.
• Take the volunteer on a tour of the facility
• Introduce volunteer to library staff
• Review applicable library policies and volunteer policies
• Review job duties and expectations
• Confirm work dates, times, and anticipated duration of the assignment
• Supply a volunteer name tag
• Provide training on any new skills needed to perform assigned tasks
• Discuss procedures for obtaining, using, and caring for needed supplies or equipment
• Provide safety orientation
• Review locations of parking, restrooms, water fountains, first aid kits, and places for personal items such as coats and bags.

Volunteer Opportunities

Tasks that may be performed by volunteers are varied, depending on the particular needs of the Library.

Due to confidentiality law and Library policy, volunteers may not check materials out to patrons or perform other tasks relating to confidential information.

Guidelines for Volunteers

• In most situations volunteers work hours when the supervisory staff member or designee is readily available. The number of volunteers accepted is based on the amount of work and supervisory time available.
• Volunteers should notify the supervisor or other staff as soon as possible if they know they will be late or absent.
• Volunteers should always wear their name badges while working in the library.
• It is expected that each volunteer’s dress and grooming will be appropriate for the library 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.
• Volunteers should maintain friendly demeanor at all times and are asked to direct all questions from the public to a staff member. Staff members are trained to deal with questions about the library’s collection, services, policies and procedures.
• Volunteers are responsible for updating their personal data, such as change of address or telephone number, etc., with the supervising staff member.
• Volunteers who are family members of library staff may not be placed under the direct supervision of their family member.
• Volunteers will be familiar with and agree to abide by the Conduct in the Library Policy and the Privacy and Confidentiality Policy.
• Volunteers agree that the Library may at any time, for whatever reason, decide to end the volunteer’s relationship with the library, or to make changes in the nature of their volunteer assignment.
• Library owned equipment and supplies are for library use only and may not be used for personal business or removed from Library premises without permission. Doing so may result in immediate dismissal.
• Volunteers should notify their supervisors of any assignment which causes physical discomfort or which could lead to personal injury. Any injury, whether minor or serious, must be reported directly to the supervisor.
• Volunteers who are interested in paid employment with the library should apply when vacancies arise and will compete with all other applicants for positions.
• Volunteers who fail to meet the job requirements, violate library policies, or violate local, state, or federal law while working a volunteer assignment at the Library are subject to dismissal.
• To end a volunteer commitment, the volunteer should notify the supervisor.
• Use of alcohol or controlled substances on Library property is prohibited, as is the abuse of prescription drugs or reporting for duty under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Volunteers found to be in violation will be dismissed immediately.
• As with paid staff, volunteers are strictly prohibited from sexually harassing or making improper advances towards any individual in the library. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome or unsolicited verbal, physical, or sexual conduct that is made a term of condition of service, is used as the basis of an employment 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 and the Library Director.
• The supervisor may meet informally with the volunteer to review job performance.

Adopted by the Dubuque County Library Board of Trustees Dec. 16, 2014
Revised 3/16/21

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