Thursday, January 10, 2008

Volunteers at your library

Hey everyone. can't wait to see you in Philadelphia, if you're going. I have a post brewing about the death of reading...which we've all been hearing a lot about lately, seems like.

In the meantime, I have a question. Do you have any tips for how to recruit and marshall volunteers in your library? (or anywhere else, for that matter...)

I am working on a story for the OCLC Canada newsletter, and I thought I'd ask if there are hard-won pearls of wisdom about volunteers from bloggers and blogreaders?


K.G. Schneider said...

I wasn't sure if you meant "how to attract them" or "best practices." Assuming the latter, it's crucial to "hire" volunteers based on their skills, ensure their backgrounds are checked, and think well in advance about where and how you will and will not use volunteers. You also need to ask yourself WHY you are using volunteers: to engage with the community? To supplement staff positions?

I don't mean to pour buzzkill over your original question... but I have worked with volunteers in various library settings, and having faced "But you can do that with volunteers, why do you need more money?" and in position having inherited a large corps of volunteers of varying expertise, I know there are many angles to the "volunteer" question.

Alice said...

Nope, Karen this is awesome. YOu can see I have not exactly chosen an angle on the story it can be best practices and this is great feedback and watch-out to be aware of. Volunteers for the sake of volunteers...they may be worth what you paid for them!

Anonymous said...

I work in a public library in Florida and we have the most success recruiting from two groups: high school students needing community service hours and retired seniors. Both have the time and usually the commitment to make it worthwhile to spend the time training them.