Volunteer policy

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Policy adopted by the Board of Trustees March 13, 2023

Bethlehem Public Library’s Volunteer Program is intended to expand and enhance public service to the community.  Volunteer opportunities offer residents an opportunity to contribute to the community, fulfill personal goals, and learn more about the Library.  Volunteers generally work on special projects, events or programs.  Volunteers will not be used to replace the work done by paid Library staff.

A volunteer is identified as a person who offers to perform a task or service freely for the Library without compensation or benefits.

Selection of Volunteers

Prospective volunteers are required to submit a completed volunteer application form.  Volunteers are selected based upon their stated interest(s), ability to commit to a consistent schedule of hours and the needs of the Library at any given time. If the interests and abilities match Library needs, staff will contact you.  If there are no volunteer opportunities at the time, volunteer applications are held for one year.

Permission of a parent or guardian is required for youth under 18 years of age.  Permission is provided by the parent or guardian’s signature and date on the volunteer application form.

Designated Library staff will be responsible for interviewing, selecting and overseeing volunteers. 

It is the policy of the Library to provide and maintain a work place environment free from discrimination or harassment based on age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, status as a victim of domestic violence, arrest record or conviction record, or sincerely held practice of religion and any other class protected by New York State or Federal Law.

Community Service and Partnership

The Library collaborates with the Bethlehem Central School District and other educational institutions and community organizations to provide relevant and meaningful volunteer experiences.

The Library works cooperatively with the local students who must perform community service as part of an authorized school assignment.  Preference will be given to students residing within the Bethlehem Central School District.  Persons who seek volunteer assignments to meet a requirement set by an outside agency for the performance of community service shall be subject to the above selection process and all other provisions of this policy.

Information about the type of community service, required hours, and required completion date must be included on the volunteer application form.

The Library may not be able to guarantee fulfillment of all service hours.

The Library will authenticate and provide a record of volunteer hours completed.

The Library does not participate in court appointed community service.

Roles and Responsibilities

Volunteers are expected to adhere to Library policies and practices established regarding work schedule, attendance, conduct, performance, safety procedures, proper attire, name tag display, etc.

Volunteers should be committed to reflecting a positive customer service attitude.

Volunteers shall only work during hours when adequate supervision is available.

Individual work schedules and specific time commitments will be mutually arranged in advance by the volunteer and designated Library staff.

Volunteers under the age of 18 may not work more than four (4) hours per day or without the direct supervision of a Library staff member.

Volunteers are required to complete a log sheet of the hours volunteered.

Training and Supervision

Designated Library staff will coordinate and supervise volunteers.

Volunteers will receive an orientation and specific training in their assigned duties from the Library staff members who directly supervise their work.

Volunteers will receive information on the Library’s harassment policy, patron conduct policy, and other necessary policies and procedures.

General Provisions:

Nothing in this policy shall be deemed to create a contract between the volunteer and Bethlehem Public Library.  The volunteer, and the Library, have the right to terminate the volunteer’s association with the Library at any time, for any reason, with or without cause.

The Library will not provide health, workers’ compensation, unemployment or disability benefit for volunteers. 

In the event that a volunteer is unable to adequately perform the duties assigned, and no other appropriate tasks are available, the volunteer may be removed from service.  Volunteers can be released from volunteer duties at any time at the discretion of the Library.

Volunteers may announce their separation at any time.

A volunteer exit survey may be utilized to assist the Library at identifying volunteer areas of strength and areas in need of improvement.

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