Libraries have used volunteers for a very long time. Depending on the size of the library, recruiting, training, and keeping volunteers means that the library's mission and services to the community can be met.
How can volunteers benefit your library?
Volunteers are another link between the library and its community. They assist in advocating how the library works and the importance of a wide range of programs and services. Volunteers can
- Be a strong voice of library support
- Enhance library services and programming
- Bring community connections to the library
- Bring specilized skills or life experiences
- Provide new energy and ideas
- Free up staff time
What are the benefits of volunteering?
Volunteering should be mutually beneficial to the library and the volunteer. Volunteering at the library can provide
- Opportunities to serve the community
- A use of free time
- A chance to meet new people
- A sense of purpose, accomplishment, and self-worth
- Opportunities to develop new skills
Myths About Volunteer Programs
Volunteers cannot do everything. Here are some FALSE myths about volunteering:
- Volunteers will replace all the staff. Not at all! Although volunteers can assist staff and perform many functions, the volunteer cannot take the responsibilities of a paid library employee.
- Volunteer programs are free! No again! To ensure that the library gets the best results for the efforts, staff time and library resources are needed. Neither are free. Some funds should be invested to recongize volunteer efforts.
- Volunteers manage themselves. Nope! Like employees, volunteers need training, monitoring, and evaluating.
During the 2016 Legislative Session, §10-1-22 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931 was ammended.
That §10-1-22 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 1. PUBLIC LIBRARIES. '10-1-22. Confidential nature of certain library records.
(a) Circulation and similar records of any public library in this state which identify the user of library materials are not public records but shall be confidential and may not be disclosed except:
(1) To members of the library staff in the ordinary course of business, including paid employees and unpaid volunteers upon completing a written confidentiality agreement which shall prevent disclosure of circulation records, personal information, and similar records of any public library except to the extent allowed under this subsection and obtaining written permission from the library director of the library system wherein he or she will be working;
(2) Upon written consent of the user of the library materials or the user's parents or guardian if the user is a minor or ward; or
(3) Upon appropriate court order or subpoena. (b) Any disclosure authorized by subsection (a) of this section or any unauthorized disclosure of materials made confidential by that subsection (a) does not in any way destroy the confidential nature of that material, except for the purpose for which an authorized disclosure is made. A person disclosing material as authorized by subsection (a) of this section is not liable therefor
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