Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…











{December 8, 2009}   Managing the Paperwork

I  have about 100 volunteer applications on my desk this week. Since I manage volunteers in 2 libraries, I have them sorted on 2 clipboards. It’s almost like having twins. I need to treat them both fairly. I get more walk ins at the library where my office is, but the volume at the other library seems to be more so the placement there is more urgent.

This is the Human Resources part of Volunteer Management. How do we keep up with the mountains of paperwork that comes along with the job? I put together a manual of my job. In it are all the forms, agreements, master copies, and the “why’s” and “how’s” of what I do. It’s a big binder. Lets just say, if I need a step stool to reach something, I can just stand on it for height.

As for the volunteers, attached to their application is their handbook consent form, any letters or notes, copies of probation or school related forms, any special waivers, their resumes if they have submitted that and any other information that find their way to me while they are currently volunteering, such as time sheets. Those are all the current ones.

As for keeping previous volunteer information. Let’s just say I keep it all. I had a call about a year ago from a volunteer who needed her time sheets to prove that she did volunteer to the IRS during an audit. She claimed her mileage, which was allowed, but she needed the paperwork for her accountant. Luckily I had it. It was buried in a drawer, but I had it all the same.  I’m excited for 2010. I’m going to move all the applicants and current volunteers to an access data base. That way if we need volunteers to repair books, and they checked that box on the applications, I can pull everyone up. I mentioned Volgistics in an earlier post, and hopefully that will help me track hours better and have better communication with the volunteers via the web.

I don’t want to go paperless yet, but I need some way that will help me organize better and stay on top of it all.

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{December 7, 2009}   Mistaken Identity…

I did not bring my “A” game to work this morning. I had a new job training session in Youth Services, my mail box had applications from over the weekend, I had voice mail galore and I had to confront a volunteer on a situation regarding quality control without stepping on toes or hurting feelings, plus when you just wake up to snow…and extra cold..it just throws you off. I had no idea what shoes I should wear…any way..

I’m running around like a crazy lady and I at least listen to my voice mail only to get another call right when I hang up my receiver about a potential volunteer wanting to talk with me about opportunities who was in the lobby. I decided, what the heck, I’ll throw him in to my craziness…what harm could it do?

I invite him in to my office, turn to close the door and start looking over his application that he had laid on my desk. He proceeds to tell me he is court ordered community service. I looked on his application and school ordered was circled.

“Are you school ordered too?” “No” he said. I circled court ordered and marked out school ordered. I told him we had a lot of dusting to do in our Youth Services area and would it bother the chronic asthma he had listed on his application under health limitations. “No” he said again, with his eyebrows scrunched. We chatted a little more, getting to know each other. I flipped the application back over. It listed that he was 8th grade home schooled. Not being allowed to ask age on applications, I was going with what I had in front of me. Could this just be a big 8th grader? He continued to talk about his interests, what he’s on probation for, when his next meeting is with his officer…and there I was flipping the application over and back looking at it and then looking at him. Finally, I couldn’t wrap my head around it…”Ok” I said. “I have to ask you, and it’s up to you if you don’t want to answer, but how old are you?” “That’s fine, it’s no big deal. I’m 22”. I was more confused than ever, “And you’re being homeschooled  for the 8th grade? Who are you?” He told me his name, I clearly had the wrong application in front of me. I had grabbed an application from the pile of the ones from my mailbox from over the weekend instead of the one he laid on my desk, I didn’t notice it because I had turned my back to close my door for privacy for our meeting.

After sorting through it and having a few laughs, this guy, this 22-year-old guy without chronic asthma, will start tomorrow helping dust our shelves and shift our YS Non Fiction. I hope you all had a better Monday then I did!



et cetera
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