Library volunteers - we all get the requests, but what to do with them? There is just only so much dusting, weeding, children programming prep, and mending you can have them do. Below are some ideas that have been successful at other libraries, especially for teens and adults. Please keep in mind - some union contracts may not allow certain tasks to be performed by volunteers, so before you do anything, make sure you double check with your Director what you can and cannot have a volunteer do.
Window ArtistsIf your volunteers are artistic, get them to work on your windows! All they need are brushes, tempera paint, and a dab of dish soap (just to make it easier to wash off afterwards). You could have them paint advertisements of upcoming events or you can do seasonal themes. Better yet – pick out a children’s picture book and ask them to paint an inspiration from it, then you can put the book on display.
|Children's Room windows at the Marlborough Public Library. Teens painted their inspirations from The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle|
Outreach SpecialistsIs there any library that does this enough? Find outgoing people who are willing to promote library services and resources at community events and festivals. They can even bring library card registration forms or a floating book collection, which we discussed a few months back.
Program FacilitatorsTap into your volunteer’s passion. What kind of programs could they run at the library and you provide the advertising? Pikes Peak Library District has a manga artist run their anime meetings as well as teachers to run their ESL circles and teach foreign languages. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box! Alachua County Library District has local history aides staffed by volunteers.
Shelf ManagersBy far, this is the favorite position our teens enjoy at our library. We train them to be shelf readers and they spend half their time making sure their section is in order and the other half of the time shifting books. If you have any pages, see if you can match your shelf mangers to a page and have the page supervise their work. (If people are unable to pass the shelf reading test, have them only focus on shifting books. There's always plenty of work to be done there.)
Library PhotographersTrain a few photographers to come in and take pictures of your big events or final products. We include a photo release with our online registration so we can easily know ahead of time who we can photograph, but we also give the photographers permission forms to hand out if needed. Make sure they download their favorite pictures on your computer BEFORE they leave, or you may never get them. This program has been very beneficial for our social media networks and our website -- and all of our library photographers are teen volunteers. Note: Make sure you credit them for their work! They like to see their name attached to their pictures. Also, consider investing in a DSLR camera. The picture quality greatly increases, even if you just use the auto mode.
|Photo Credit: MPL Photographer, Lauren Munday|