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Volunteer Policy

The Decatur Public Library believes volunteers are a vital part of any successful public library.

The Decatur Public Library (“Library”) believes volunteers are a vital part of any successful public library. Volunteers aid the Library in making the best use of its fiscal resources and contribute to excellent working relationships with community groups and organizations. Volunteer opportunities offer citizens a way to contribute to the community and learn more about the Library, while helping the library expand and enrich its services. The Library and its volunteers work together to achieve the goals and mission of the Library.

Purpose of Volunteer Policy

The purpose of this policy is to provide overall guidance and direction to staff and volunteers engaged in activities in the Library. These policies are for internal management guidance only, and do not constitute, either implicitly or explicitly, a contractual or personnel agreement. The Library reserves the right to change any part of this policy. Changes or exceptions from this policy may be granted by the City Librarian. Changes must be obtained in advance, in writing, and approved by the City Librarian. Issues not covered by this policy shall be resolved by the City Librarian.

Definition of “Volunteer”

A volunteer is anyone who without compensation or expectation of compensation performs a task at the direction of a Library supervisor or on behalf of the Library. A volunteer must apply and be interviewed. After the date of the approval of this policy, volunteers must execute an Acknowledgement of Volunteer Status and Acceptance of Decatur Public Library Policies prior to commencement of the Volunteer’s service at the Library.

The Library accepts the service of volunteers with the understanding that such service is at the sole discretion of the Library. Volunteers understand that the Library may at any time, for any reason terminate the volunteer’s relationship with the Library.

Who Can Volunteer

Volunteers shall be recruited without regard to any individual’s age, race, creed, color, national origin, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, physical appearance, socioeconomic level, or any other legally protected characteristic.

Volunteers under the age of 18 must have parental consent, and may not work without direct supervision by a staff member or an adult volunteer. The Library will only accept volunteers 14 and older.

Any person interested in volunteering at the Library must fill out an application form. Each application will be reviewed by the department head. Candidates will be accepted based on their qualifications in relation to the needs of the library at any given time. Acceptance of an application is at the Library’s discretion.

All volunteers who begin service after October 16, 2020 will agree to undergo a background check prior to beginning their duties at the Library. All volunteers who began service prior to that date will agree to undergo a background check no later than December 31, 2020. Any volunteer unwilling to undergo a background check will no longer be eligible to serve the Library in that capacity. Any volunteer or volunteer or volunteer applicant who is found to be a convicted sex offender or to have been convicted of a violent crime in the last five years will not be eligible to serve the Library in that capacity.

No volunteer will be eligible for medical, health, accident, or worker’s compensation benefits.


Each volunteer will be assigned to an on-site supervisor, and is required to follow work procedures established by the staff member. The supervisor is responsible for the day-to-day management and guidance of a volunteer’s work, and will be available for assistance. Volunteers should feel free to ask any questions of this person or report any problems or concerns about their assignment. Volunteers are expected to perform their duties to the best of their ability, and be loyal to the mission, values, goals, and policies of the library. All volunteers should keep their supervisor informed of their assigned projects, and of any change to their availability schedule.

While volunteers serve the needs of every Library department, they will not be used to replace the work done by paid Library staff. They are also not allowed to perform activities that could reveal confidential patron information.


Volunteers are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with, and adhere to all established policies and procedures of the Library, including, but not limited to, policies regarding work schedule, attendance, conduct, performance, safety procedures, proper attire, etc. Volunteers can be released from their duties at any time at the discretion of the Library.

Volunteer Training

All volunteers will receive an orientation to the program they will be working with and a tour of the Library.

Volunteers will receive on-the-job training to provide them with the information and skills reasonably necessary to perform their assignment. Staff members with responsibility for delivery of services should have an active role in the training of the volunteers.

Each volunteer accepted to a position with the Library will have a clearly identified supervisor. This supervisor shall be responsible for the day-to-day guidance of the work of the volunteer and shall be reasonably available to the volunteer for consultation and assistance.

Volunteers are expected to perform their duties on a regular scheduled and timely basis. If volunteers expect to be absent they should notify their immediate supervisor in advance so that alternative arrangements may be made.

Volunteer Recognition

The Volunteer Supervisor and staff directly involved with the volunteers may design a program of recognition for the volunteers.

Approved by the Decatur Public Library Board of Trustees February 16, 2017. Amended October 16, 2020. Reviewed 11/16/2023.