Volunteer Handbook

Alachua County Library District Volunteer Handbook

Table of Contents

Library Director's Welcome


Welcome to the Alachua County Library District’s Volunteer Program. Thank you for your willingness to give of your precious time and many talents to help us promote our programs and services throughout the district. If you are a new volunteer or if you are returning, I welcome each of you with sincere appreciation. We couldn’t do what we do without you.

Our mission statement, “a key to building a better community by creating opportunities to participate, connect and discover” is wholly demonstrated in the partnership we share. You, our volunteers, play a key role and are a vital part of helping us achieve our goals for the Alachua County community.

We look forward to working with you and are confident that your volunteer experience will be a rewarding one. Again, welcome and thank you.


Shaney T. Livingston

Library Director

Purpose and Historical Overview


The Alachua County Library District encourages the teamwork of staff and volunteers to provide patrons the best service possible. Library volunteers enhance the level and quality of service to our patrons and provide support for routine tasks and other library projects. Volunteer opportunities offer citizens a way to contribute to the community, fulfill personal goals, achieve a sense of satisfaction, and learn more about the Library.


Historical Overview

The history of the Alachua County Library District (ACLD) shows the importance of volunteers in the development and implementation of the Library District. Volunteers were responsible for introducing the idea of creating a local library. They acquired books to stock the library shelves, generated money to initially fund the library prior to the independent taxing district and provided the initial services and staffing needed to operate a district library. From the beginning of the library system in Gainesville, Florida, volunteers were the foundation of the library. Most of the acquired volunteers were initially placed in the Circulation and Youth Services Departments. Volunteers then began to serve in other areas and branch libraries.

The ACLD has grown a great deal since it began providing service to the community. In 1959, there were only the main library and branches in High Springs, Hawthorne, and Micanopy. Presently, there is the main Alachua County Library District Headquarters branch in downtown Gainesville and the eleven branches located throughout urban and rural Alachua County: Alachua, Archer, Cone Park, Hawthorne, High Springs, Library Partnership, Micanopy, Millhopper, Newberry, Tower Road, and Waldo.

Mission Statements

Alachua County Library District Mission Statement
A key to building a better community by creating opportunities to participate, connect, and discover.

Core Values
-Diversity of people and ideas
-Free and equal access
-Excellent and innovative service
-Open exchange of ideas

Alachua County Library District | Volunteer Program Office Mission Statement
-To provide, expand, and enhance volunteer opportunities for community youth aged 12 years and older and adults that are committed to providing positive service contributions to the Alachua County Library District (ACLD) program operations.

-To provide resources to enhance and augment the delivery of quality library services and programs.
-To encourage citizen participation in the public library.

Roles and Responsibilities of ACLD Staff

District Volunteer Program Specialist
The Volunteer Program Specialist’s responsibilities include recruiting and training new volunteers, keeping a database of volunteer information and skills, matching volunteers to opportunities that suit their skills, keeping volunteers informed, and conveying the organization’s purpose to the public.

Volunteer Liaison
The Volunteer Liaison (VL) is responsible for conducting orientation and organizing training for the volunteers. They also make the volunteer schedules, verify records of volunteers' work, and ensure the volunteers understand their responsibilities and receive the proper instructions to carry out their tasks. The Volunteer Liaison is usually the direct supervisor for the volunteers.

Bill of Rights for Library Volunteers

The right to adequate training for the volunteer assignment.

The right to be shown respect and courtesy by supervisors and staff.

The right to be informed of any information relevant to the volunteer assignment.

The right to a Volunteer Task Description so that the task can be performed to the supervisor’s expectations.

The right to air grievances through library volunteer channels.

The right to an assignment that makes a meaningful and significant difference to the library and its patrons.

The right to have some control and input over the assigned work.

The right to be recognized for contributing personal time and talent to the success of the task assignment or project.

Adapted from Managing Library Volunteers A Practical Toolkit, by Preston Driggers and Eileen Dumas, American Library Association, Chicago and London 2002, Part I, Section 5, page 18.


Volunteer Orientation

What Is a Volunteer Orientation?

The new volunteer orientation will welcome and acquaint volunteers with the Alachua County Library District’s mission. This time will be used to outline the role expectations, responsibilities, and tasks involved in becoming a library volunteer. Orientation is often led by a Volunteer Liaison and may be supported by experienced volunteers. All volunteers must complete an orientation prior to providing service.

What’s the difference between volunteer orientation and volunteer training?

Training for library tasks can occur at a separate date after orientation has occurred but typically is on the same day. The training addresses the specific job they will do.

Training should include:

• How the volunteer will perform their task
• What not to do when performing this task
• Volunteer training videos
• How to handle an emergency or what to do when something unexpected happens
• What the goals are for the task and how performance will be evaluated
• What equipment will be required and how to use it
• A walk through of the task and coaching while the volunteer tries out the task 

Welcome to the team!

Roles and Responsibilities of Volunteers

1. Accept assignments with enthusiasm and commitment.

2. Honor established schedules. Notify the volunteer liaison in advance if unable to meet an agreed upon schedule or perform delegated task assignments.

3. Speak to the volunteer liaison about changes that may be needed in the service schedule, task assigned, department, etc. Make the volunteer liaison aware of any difficulty encountered in performing the Task Assignment.

4. Abide by all ACLD policies, procedures, and workplace guidelines as communicated by volunteer liaisons and as stated in the ACLD Volunteer Program Office Handbook, Volunteer Service Agreement, and ACLD Policies and Procedures.

5. Maintain strict confidentiality of any and all confidential information acquired through the volunteer assignment, as required by Florida State Statute 257.261. Sign the Volunteer Program Office Confidentiality Statement if applicable.

6. Wear an official ACLD Volunteer button (provided by volunteer liaison), ensuring it is visible at all times, whenever you are scheduled as an ACLD volunteer.

7. Refer all library service questions from Library patrons to Library staff unless the assigned task involves customer service.

8. Record volunteer time in VicTouch.

9. Treat everyone with dignity and respect. The Library welcomes everyone.

10. Read and become familiar with the Volunteer Task Assignment. Ask the volunteer liaison if the responsibilities of the assignment are not understood.

11. Adhere to all safety guidelines and rules of ACLD.

12. Volunteers may not have access to petty cash or door codes and are not issued keys.


Active Volunteer
All volunteers that have contributed volunteer hours during a monthly reporting period are considered to be active. A new active volunteer must provide a minimum of one hour of service during the current month of reporting in order to be considered active.

Deactivated Volunteers
A retired or terminated volunteer, or a volunteer that has been inactive for more than six months.

Grievance Policy

All ACLD volunteers have the right to submit a grievance if they feel the terms of their volunteer assignment or their Volunteer Service Agreement have been compromised. A grievance may be filed for the following reasons: an act of mistreatment, an unresolved incident, an inappropriate task assignment, inappropriate behavior by another volunteer, patron or library staff, a volunteer termination, or any situation that the volunteer feels adversely affects their rights.

A volunteer having any issues related to sexual harassment or misconduct, inappropriate sexual language, sexual assault, or abuse has the right to go directly to the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Manager located at: Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office, 12 S.E 1st Street, Gainesville, Florida 32601. The phone number is 352-374-5275.

Grievance Procedure

All formal grievances must be submitted using the Volunteer Program Office Grievance Form. The form must be submitted to the Volunteer Liaison (VL), Volunteer Program Specialist (VPS), or Alachua County Equal Opportunity Manager within five (5) working days of the situation occurring or within five (5) working days of the volunteer becoming aware of the situation. Copies of the Grievance Process may be obtained from the VPO Staff or the Volunteer Liaison where the volunteer has been placed.

A volunteer may present a grievance to their Volunteer Liaison. If the grievance is related to the Volunteer Liaison, the Volunteer may submit their complaint to the Library Branch Manager or the VPS.

If it is regarding the Library Branch Manager or the Department Manager, they may go directly to the Volunteer Program Specialist.

A volunteer having any issues related to sexual harassment or misconduct, inappropriate sexual language, sexual assault, or abuse has the right to go directly to the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Manager.

Inactive Volunteers
A volunteer is considered inactive if they have not volunteered during a monthly reporting period. A volunteer may be inactive for up to six consecutive months. For an active volunteer to become an approved inactive volunteer there must be an acceptable reason for absence. Acceptable reasons for an approved extended absence include but are not limited to illness, illness of a family member, educational reasons, or vacation. All volunteer service inactivity must be approved by the Volunteer Liaison prior to the period of absence. Volunteers that have missed three unapproved scheduled service time commitments will be terminated from the ACLD Volunteer Program.

Insurance and Liability
The Alachua County Library District has insurance that may cover injuries sustained as a result of a volunteer task assigned by the Library District. This does not include travel to and from home, or damage to a personal vehicle if used while volunteering.
If a person is injured while volunteering for ACLD, they should immediately report the injury to their supervisor who should follow the Incident and Accident Reporting Procedures Manual. Staff should not transport a volunteer to a medical facility; call 911 for medical assistance.
Note: Volunteers from programs with approved volunteer service site agreements may be covered under different reporting procedure. Please check with the VPS for additional information.

Permanent Volunteer
A volunteer that has successfully completed the orientation and probationary period.

Probationary Period for Volunteers
New volunteers have a probationary period of 30 days after orientation to allow for training and transitioning into the Volunteer Task Assignment. After successfully completing the probationary period, the volunteer becomes permanent. The probationary status is monitored internally by the Volunteer Liaison. The probationary period may be extended for an additional period of 30 days with the approval of the District Volunteer Program Specialist. If the volunteer does not successfully complete the probationary period, they cannot continue to serve at their Volunteer Service Site.

Reporting Requirements for Incidents and Accidents

In any instance that a volunteer is involved in an accident, they are to contact the volunteer supervisor immediately. The supervisor will take the appropriate steps to report the accident and ensure that the volunteer receives appropriate medical examination and treatment. If the volunteer supervisor is not in the vicinity the next in command is to be contacted.

According to the ACLD Incident Report Procedures “a volunteer is a person of [their] own free will who provides goods or services to the Library District without receiving monetary or material compensation.” All volunteer personnel providing these valuable services on behalf of the Alachua County Library District are considered library employees for purposes of worker’s compensation and incident reporting.

All supervisors are responsible for notifying volunteers that they should report incidents and accidents as soon as they occur to their supervisor or the person in charge. If an incident occurs with a volunteer and a patron wherein the patron is injured due to the act of the volunteer immediate action should take place to contact the volunteer supervisor and the Department or Library Branch Manager. An incident report must be written up by the appropriate supervisor and actions must be taken to make sure that the patron receives appropriate medical care.

Termination of a Volunteer
The decision to terminate a volunteer should be a last resort and should be made by the Department Manager or the Library Branch Manager in consultation with the Volunteer Liaison and the District Volunteer Program Specialist. An active or inactive volunteer may be terminated from volunteer service due to the following documented reasons: excessive absenteeism or tardiness, inappropriate behavior, substandard performance of task assignment, creating a dangerous environment, discourteous behavior toward the staff, other volunteers, or patrons, theft, non-compliance with the signed ACLD Volunteer Service Agreement, or any other unsatisfactory behavior or performance.

Volunteer Liaison (VL)
An ACLD staff member that works closely with the District Volunteer Program Specialist and their Library Manager to determine the need for volunteers in their respective library or department. The VL is responsible for the selection and orientation of new volunteers and is typically the person who supervises the volunteer. They are the volunteer’s main point of contact.

Volunteer Program Office (VPO)
The organizational structure created by ACLD to provide staffing to operate the Library District’s comprehensive volunteer program.

Volunteer Service Site (VSS)
Any approved ACLD Branch or Department where a volunteer may be placed to provide service. Each VSS must have at least one Volunteer Liaison and a Branch or Department Manager.

Volunteer Recognition Events
Volunteers are essential to the success of the Alachua County Library District. Two districtwide events are held to recognize and honor our volunteers, one for current adult volunteers and the other for current youth volunteers. Individual departments and library branches may plan and hold special events for their volunteers.

Volunteer Task Assignment
A description of what the volunteer is to accomplish during the performance of service. It should include the following items: title, location, key responsibilities, qualifications, dress code, place of assignment, and expected time commitment.

Youth Volunteers
Volunteers between the ages of 12 and 17.

Policies and Procedures

Alachua County Library District Policy Statement

Confidentiality of Patron Records

Approved By: Board of TrusteesDate:11-16-88
Approved By: Governing BoardDate:12-6-88

In accordance with Florida Statutes Section 257.261, the Library District reaffirms that all ACLD circulation and patron registration records are confidential. Further, all such information is exempt from the provisions of Florida Statute Section 119.07 and from Section 24(a) of Article I of the State Constitution, except in accordance with a proper judicial order or as otherwise exempted by FS 257.261.


1. Staff may not release, or make known in any manner, any information from or about patron registration, circulation, reference inquiries or internet use records, to anyone, including local, state or federal law enforcement officers or court officers, until or unless directed to do so by the Library Director or designee.

2. Requests for records must be immediately directed to the Library Director or designee.

3. A judicial order is interpreted as a court order unless otherwise defined within the Florida Statutes.

4. A subpoena from an attorney or anyone for production of Library records or testimony about Library business is not a judicial order, but may not be ignored by the Library District. Employees should notify the Library Director or designee immediately upon receipt of a subpoena for Library records or testimony about Library business, and provide the subpoena.


Alachua County Library District Policy Statement

Library Code of Conduct

Approved by Board of Trustees:1/16/91
Approved by Governing Board:1/24/91

The Alachua County Library District is a public, tax-supported facility with the specific and limited purpose of providing the community with resources for: information access; self-education; recreational reading, viewing, listening; supplemental support for formal education; and space for quiet study, reading, and thinking. All members of the community are welcome in the library regardless of their age, sex, race, religion, ethnic origin, disability, appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, as long as they do not disrupt or interfere with another individual's ability to use the library for its intended purposes. To this end, the Alachua County Library District has set up the following rules to ensure the comfort and safety of all patrons and staff.


Prohibited behaviors include, but are not limited to, the following at all Library Districts outlets (buildings, grounds, or property) including the Headquarters, Branches, bookmobiles, vehicles, deposit collections, or programs operated by the Library District.

1) Violation of any federal, state, county, or municipal law or ordinance.

2) Any disruptive, unsafe or threatening behavior, including harassment of library staff and including but not limited to:

a) Use of alcohol or tobacco products (including e-cigarettes).
b) Verbal, physical or sexual harassment of Library staff or patrons.
c) Sleeping, loud talking or running.
d) Improper use of public restrooms including, but not limited to: bathing and laundering.
e) Panhandling or solicitation.
f) Eating or drinks without secure tops. An exception will be made for refreshments in meeting rooms in compliance with the Meeting Room Policy.
g) Bringing any animals other than service animals as defined by the ADA. 
h) Leaving children unattended. Library staff is not responsible for the safety or well-being of unsupervised children.
i) Leaving personal belongings unattended. Library staff is not responsible for personal belongings left unattended.
j) Refusing to leave Library property at closing time or during any emergency evacuation.
k) Unauthorized use of library technology.
l) Entering the Library barefooted, without a shirt, or being otherwise attired so as to be disruptive to the Library environment. Exceptions will be made for children under the age of 2 years old.  

3) All Library Staff and Patrons are expected to comply with all provisions of law. Any failure to follow the law may result in the involvement of law enforcement.

Any person who violates these rules of behavior will be asked to leave Library property. Any person who repeatedly violates any rules or who commits a single, serious violation of the rules, in addition to being asked to leave the Library property, will be subject to the provisions of section 810.08 and 810.09. F.S. The law provides that persons may be required to leave public buildings, conveyances, land and grounds, and those persons who fail to leave, after warning, can be charged with trespass. Violators may be barred from all property owned or leased by the Library District, including structures, conveyances, grounds and land.


Alachua County Library District | Volunteer Program Office

Dress Code Guidelines for Volunteers

The Alachua County Library District is a “public service” institution whose mission is to "make accessible recreational, educational, informational and cultural resources to ... Alachua County residents of all ages, and cultural and economic backgrounds.”1

One of the District's primary goals is to maintain a welcoming, accessible environment in which people from all segments of the community feel comfortable and assured of efficient, courteous and professional service.

In support of this goal, ACLD Volunteers, while serving, are expected to wear attire that is appropriate for the environment. Appropriate clothing need not be expensive, but must be neat, clean, and in good repair. Avoid extremes in dress or styles that may offend some patrons, as this interferes with the ability to provide effective service.

In addition to this general definition, the following specific guidelines should be followed:
• No torn or soiled clothing.
• No bare feet, rubber thongs, or “flip-flops”.
• No clothing or accessories that might present a safety hazard to yourself or others.
• No clothing with offensive words or images.

It is the responsibility of the Volunteer Liaison and branch/department manager to maintain the standard of dress and to immediately inform a volunteer when they are dressed in an inappropriate manner.

If you have any question as to whether your attire is appropriate or not, do not wear it. Ask your Volunteer Liaison for guidance first. Special volunteer assignments may require temporary exceptions to these guidelines. These circumstances require your Volunteer Liaison’s approval and should be dictated by safety considerations.

Adapted from Alachua County Library District Dress Code Procedure.

1 Alachua County Library District Role Statement. Reference 1994-1999 Long Range Plan and FY 1993-94 Budget.