Volunteer Handbook

Alachua County Library District Volunteer Handbook



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




The Alachua County Library District’s (ACLD) Volunteer Program Handbook provides policies, procedures, guidance, and direction for volunteers.

The Alachua County Library District Director requires this and all instructional manuals to be consistent with the policies, procedures, rules, and regulations of ACLD. Volunteers should have a reference that is easy to read and understand.

Volunteers have been and still are a vital part of ACLD and we are fortunate to have them serving in all of our library branches. Without our volunteers we would not have the organization that we are so proud of today. Not only have they been a part of our past but they presently assist us by increasing and enhancing the services that we provide. Our district’s future looks brighter because of the knowledge, ideas, and creativity of the talented volunteers that support our library district.

The ACLD Volunteer Program is very fortunate to have the support of the Library Director, the Governing Board, and the Board of Trustees. The Library Director and the Governing Board have approved a budget that includes funds to recognize our volunteers for the many hours of service that they have donated to the library district.

We are extremely appreciative and proud of our volunteers and want to make sure that they have the materials, training and education needed to increase their knowledge of the library district and to have a meaningful experience.




Active Volunteer: A volunteer that has been referred by the District Volunteer Program Specialist, accepted by the Volunteer Service Site and has provided a minimum of one hour of service during the most recent month of reporting.

Adult Volunteers: Individuals who are 18 years of age and older.

District Volunteer Program Specialist (VPS): This is the Volunteer Program Office Staff position responsible for professional work in the recruitment, selection, screening, and placement of volunteers in various capacities throughout the Alachua County Library District.

Hours of Service / Service Hours: The time documented and recorded that a volunteer has contributed in carrying out a Task Assignment.

Inactive Volunteer: A volunteer that has not provided service to a Volunteer Service Site during the current month of reporting.

Library Volunteer: An individual from the community who agrees to donate time, talent, and services to the Library District.

New Volunteer: An adult or minor that has been approved and referred by the District Program Volunteer Specialist to serve as an ACLD Volunteer. A new volunteer is an individual that has not served in the ACLD Volunteer Program in the past twelve months.

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

Probationary Volunteer: A volunteer that has been granted a period of time to complete orientation. The Volunteer Liaison determines the length of the probationary and training period. A new volunteer is eligible to become a permanent volunteer after completing their probationary period.

Volunteer Liaison (VL): An ACLD staff person that works closely with the District Volunteer Program Specialist and the Library Manager to determine the need for volunteers in their respective library or department.

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 Library or Department where a volunteer may be placed to provide service. Each Volunteer Service Site must have at least one Volunteer Liaison and a Branch or Department Manager.

Volunteer Supervisor (VS): An ACLD staff person that has accepted the responsibility to orient, train, assign and evaluate the performance of a referred volunteer in the capacity of their delegated task assignment.

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/Minor Volunteers: Individuals between the ages of 12 and 17.


Historical Overview of the Volunteer Program Office


The history of the Alachua County Library District (ACLD) shows us 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.

For many years there were Volunteer Coordinators that monitored and placed interested persons in volunteer assignments without receiving any monetary compensation for their services. The first official Volunteer Coordinator was Jean Strating, who was hired February 2, 1998. This position was created as a permanent half-time position.

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 are 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.


Roles and Responsibilities of ACLD Staff



Assist with development and implementation of ACLD Volunteer Program Office (VPO) policies and procedures. Coordinate District-wide recruitment, referral, and placement of volunteers. Monitor the implementation of VPO policies and procedures ensuring that they are followed on a consistent basis across the District. Monitor personnel issues related to volunteers to ensure that ACLD meets all legal obligations with regard to utilizing volunteers.



Communicate departmental or library branch’s needs for volunteers to the District Volunteer Program Specialist (VPS) Collect, review for completeness, and forward all volunteer forms to the VPS. Notify VPS when volunteers leave the program. Schedule orientations for volunteers in department or library branch. Develop appropriate Volunteer Task Assignments (VTA) for all volunteers.
  • Maintain communication with Library Branch Managers, Department Managers, Volunteer Liaisons and 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.


New Volunteers


Adults and minors that have been approved and referred by the District Volunteer Program Specialist (VPS) may then begin to serve as an ACLD Volunteer. A new volunteer is an individual that has not served in the ACLD Volunteer Program in the past 12 months. A criminal history background screening is required for all new volunteer applicants. Youth/minor volunteers are required to have the following: a.) a Reference Letter, b.) a Parental Permission and Emergency Contact form signed by the parent or guardian and a witness; and c.) a Volunteer Service Agreement signed by the applicant and the parent. All prospective volunteers referred to the Volunteer Liaison must be interviewed and approved for volunteer placement.


Orientation of Volunteers


The provision of information and training are vital to the success of a volunteer placement. The Volunteer Liaison is responsible for the training of volunteers referred to their Volunteer Site. The orientation may be delegated to someone else, however, it should take place prior to when the volunteer begins to serve. There should be a form that the volunteer signs indicating that they have been oriented and understand the contents of the orientation. This form should also be signed by the staff carrying out the orientation, dated by both persons and kept in the Volunteer’s file. The confidentiality form should also be signed at the orientation.

All volunteers must complete an orientation prior to providing service and in order to become a permanent volunteer.

Roles and Responsibilities of Volunteers


     1. Accept assignments with enthusiasm and commitment.

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

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

     4. Abide by all ACLD policies, procedures, and workplace guidelines as communicated by  volunteer supervisors 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 name badge and lanyard (provided by volunteer supervisor) where 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 assigned task involves customer service.

     8. Record volunteer time on appropriate form provided by volunteer supervisor and make sure they are signed and dated.

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

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

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


Active Volunteer


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


Inactive Volunteer


A volunteer is considered inactive if an individual has not volunteered during a monthly reporting period. A volunteer may be inactive for up to six consecutive months. In order 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.


Probationary Period for  Volunteers


The Volunteer Liaison determines if a new volunteer should have a probationary period to allow for training and transitioning into the Volunteer Task Assignment. It is not required but recommended that all new volunteers be placed on probation even if they have volunteered at this Volunteer Site previously. The length of probation is based on the length of time felt needed to ensure that the volunteer understands the rules and responsibilities of ACLD volunteers and will adhere to them. After successfully completing the probationary period the volunteer becomes permanent.


Volunteer Performance Evaluations


Volunteer Performance Evaluations should take place at a time deemed appropriate by the Volunteer Liaison. An evaluation given by the supervisor will assist the volunteer in knowing how their performance is viewed. It should be given after the volunteer completes their probationary period.

The performance evaluation assists the supervisor in determining if the volunteer placement is appropriate. If there is a need to discontinue the volunteer’s services this tool will assist the supervisor in deciding what steps to take. This document may be used to show that the volunteer has been informed of their need to improve.

Volunteers often contact the VPO and ask for a reference. Although we do not provide references, letters of volunteer confirmation are provided as documentation of volunteer service to the ACLD. Periodic evaluations can be used as documentation to support a letter of volunteer confirmation.


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.


Grievance Policy


All ACLD volunteers that have successfully completed their probationary period 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. This may be done through the ACLD Volunteer Program Office Grievance Procedure. 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


A volunteer may present a grievance to their Volunteer Liaison. If it is regarding the Library Branch Manager or the Department Manager they may go directly to the District Volunteer Program Specialist (VPS). A formal grievance must be in writing or in a typed format using the VPO Grievance Form. The form must be submitted to the Volunteer Liaison or the VPS within five (5) working days of the situation occurring or within five (5) working days of the volunteer becoming aware of the situation. If the grievance is related to the Volunteer Liaison the Volunteer may submit their complaint to the Library Branch Manager or the VPS. All formal grievances must be submitted on the Volunteer Program Office Grievance Form. Copies of the Grievance Process may be obtained from the VPO Staff or the Volunteer Liaison where the volunteer has been placed.


Reporting Requirements for Incidents and Accidents


In any instance that a volunteer is involved in an accident they are to make contact with 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 his/her 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. In case of an accident involving a library volunteer follow the appropriate incident reporting procedures as outlined in the Alachua County Library District’s Incident Reporting Procedures, Section II, Process and Timesheet Preparation”, page 5.

All supervisors are responsible for notifying employees 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 and actions must be taken to make sure that the patron receives appropriate medical care. The volunteer supervisor and/or the Library Manager in charge must contact the Administrative Services Division Director for guidance and direction.


Insurance and Liability


The Alachua County Library District has insurance that may cover injury 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.

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


Volunteer Recognition Events


Volunteers fulfill an important role in the Alachua County Library District. To show our appreciation to our volunteers, two types of recognition events are provided as follows:

     1. Annual District-Wide Volunteer Recognition: A special event is held each year to recognize and honor all current ACLD adult volunteers. This event is planned and implemented by the District Volunteer Program Specialist and Volunteer Liaison Committee, under the oversight of the Human Resources Administrator.

     2. Departmental Recognition: Individual departments and library branches may plan and hold special events for their volunteers at any time during the year except September (end of the ACLD fiscal year).


Alachua County Library District Policy Statement


Confidentiality of Patron Records

Approved By: Date:
Board of Trustees 11-16-88
Revised 10-18-06
Revised 12-15-10
Governing Board 12-6-88
Revised 10-26-06
Revised 02-10-11



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.


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. Requests for records must be immediately directed to the Library Director or designee. A judicial order is interpreted as a court order unless otherwise defined within the Florida Statutes. 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.


Library Code of Conduct
Library Code of Conduct
Approved by Board of Trustees:  
Approved: 01/16/91
Revised 06/15/94
Revised 11/19/97
Revised 03/14/07
Revised 01/16/08
Revised 08/15/12
Revised 08/16/17
Approved by Board of Trustees  
Approved: 01/24/91
Revised 07/14/94
Revised 12/11/97
Revised 05/10/07
Revised 01/24/08
Revised 09/12/12
Revised 09/06/17



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.

Violation of any federal, state, county, or municipal law or ordinance. Any disruptive, unsafe or threatening behavior, including harassment of library staff and including but not limited to:
  1. Use of alcohol or tobacco products (including e-cigarettes).
  2. Verbal, physical or sexual harassment of Library staff or patrons.
  3. Sleeping, loud talking or running.
  4. Improper use of public restrooms including, but not limited to: bathing and laundering.
  5. Panhandling or solicitation.
  6. Eating or drinks without secure tops. An exception will be made for refreshments in meeting rooms in compliance with the Meeting Room Policy.
  7. Bringing any animals other than service animals as defined by the ADA.
  8. Leaving children unattended. Library staff is not responsible for the safety or well-being of unsupervised children.
  9. Leaving personal belongings unattended. Library staff is not responsible for personal belongings left unattended.
  10. Refusing to leave Library property at closing time or during any emergency evacuation.
  11. Unauthorized use of library technology.
  12. 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.


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.

  • 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.


The Alachua County Library District Dress Code


Dress Code

Procedure: File: ACLD General Procedures
DressCode Effective: 8/1/1994
  Revised: 6/1/2002
  Revised: 3/2/2009


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, District staff, while on work time, is expected to wear attire that is appropriate for the workplace. 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 ripped, torn, frayed or soiled clothing.
  • No bare feet, no rubber thongs or "flip-flops."
  • No shorts, sweat pants, or overalls.
  • No clothing or accessories that might present a safety hazard to yourself or others.
  • No clothing with words or images that convey a message. 


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

Buttons and/or lapel pins under 1" in diameter are permissible as long as they do not interfere with your ability to provide effective service.

[NOTE: The District may make exceptions to this guideline for special library and/or reading promotions such as the Volunteer Program, Literacy Festival, National Library Week, and others. In addition library staff may wear clothing with words or images that are library related at times other than special library and/or reading promotions as deemed appropriate by the Departmental Manager.]

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

It is the responsibility of the immediate Supervisor, Manager, Administrator and Division Director to maintain the standard of dress and to immediately inform an employee when (s)he is dressed in an inappropriate manner.  

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