Volunteer Policy


Define structure, supervision and purpose of the Volunteer program of the Omaha Public Library

Section 1: Purpose
The purpose of this policy is to define the structure of the Volunteer Program and to build effective volunteer management throughout the Library system. This policy ensures consistent and effective supervision and a fair and professional experience for Library volunteers.

The primary purpose of the Volunteer Program is to augment and enhance community engagement in the delivery of Library services in Omaha. Volunteer opportunities also offer citizens a way to contribute to the community and learn more about the Library.

Section 2: Policy

Volunteer Assignments:

  1. Every assignment or activity for which volunteers are utilized must have a written volunteer position description. The description provides both staff and volunteers with a clear explanation of responsibilities, qualifications and time commitment needed.
  2. Volunteer positions may include assignments or projects that are:
    • Short-term or long-term to be completed within a defined period.
    • Ongoing without an identified end date.

Volunteer Qualifications:

  1. Youth ages 11-18 with parental approval and adults 19 and above.
  2. All volunteers will be subject to a background check and/or reference checks.
  3. For all activities related to recruitment and retention of volunteers, the Omaha Public Library does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or sexual orientation, national origin, marital status or political beliefs.

Placing Volunteers:

  1. Volunteers may not be assigned to displace any City employee from a paid position. A volunteer position may not replace any employee position which is vacant due to retirement, resignation or termination.
  2. Volunteer Coordinator conducts screening interviews for volunteers to determine their qualifications, ability and suitability to volunteer at the Library. The number of volunteers accepted is based upon the amount of work and supervisory time allocated and needed.
  3. A volunteer will be accepted for a 30-day trial period. Volunteer Coordinator will meet periodically with the volunteer. After 30 days, the volunteer and Volunteer Coordinator will meet to evaluate the volunteer's performance and satisfaction with their assignment.
  4. A volunteer may be terminated at any time at the Library's sole discretion with or without cause.

Causes for termination include but not limited to:

  • Not performing work at an appropriate level of capability
  • Negative attitude, offensive language, inappropriate dress or misconduct
  • Violation of city, state or federal laws
  • Harassment
  • Unexcused absences
  • A volunteer will be issued a verbal and written warning before being terminated for any reason other than their work assignment is complete

Section 3: Roles and Responsibilities

The Volunteer Supervisor

  1. Ensures a uniform, consistent and efficient approach to volunteer coordination and management and serves as spokesperson for the program.
  2. Provides training, support and consultation to staff and departments regarding their use of volunteers.
  3. Oversees the activities of the branch level Volunteer Coordinators.

The Department or Branch Manager

  1. Appoints one or more Volunteer Coordinators or serves to oversee the department or branch volunteers.
  2. Builds excellence in volunteer supervision into the performance evaluation of the Volunteer Coordinators as appropriate.

The Volunteer Coordinator

  1. Promotes the value of our volunteers to the Library staff in a positive manner and facilitates recognition when appropriate.
  2. Oversees and is responsible for department/branch volunteer activities and data.
  3. Acts as the communication link between the Volunteer Supervisor and the individual department/branch.
  4. Conducts volunteer placement interviews and makes final placement decisions.
  5. Ensures volunteer receives branch orientation training, on-going supervision and shares supervision with other staff as necessary.
  6. Evaluates volunteer performance.

The Volunteer

Volunteers must comply with the guidelines and procedures outlined in the Volunteer Orientation Manual and must abide by the same rules of conduct, ethical standards and confidentiality requirements that govern staff.

Approved by the Board of Trustees
of the Omaha Public Library, June 17, 2015