Policy on Volunteers

Policy on Volunteers

The Canton Public Library welcomes and appreciates volunteers from the community whose contributions expand and enhance the public service goals of the library.  Volunteers generally provide support services to paid staff or work on special projects.  Participants in the library’s volunteer program learn more about the library and its place in the community and observe first hand how the library serves community needs.   Volunteers must meet the same standards as paid employees regarding operating within the stated policies and procedures of the Canton Public Library.  Volunteers are also expected to have a good knowledge of the goals and purpose of the library, and to reflect positive customer service attitudes to all library patrons.  It is important to emphasize that the use of qualified volunteers in the library program is a supplement to, and not a substitute for, paid staff.  Volunteers do not displace any employee from his/her position.   The Town of Canton does not provide worker's compensation, medical or disability coverage, or liability insurance for volunteers.  

To safeguard the public, the Town of Canton screens volunteers in compliance with Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 6 and consistent with the Code of Massachusetts Regulations (102 CMR 14:00 -14:16).  All volunteers must complete and sign a Criminal Offender Record Inquiry (CORI) form.  To ensure strict confidentiality, the information is requested by the Canton’s Human Services Director and reported only to the Library Director as the CORI certified department representative. 

Purpose of Volunteer Policies

The purpose of these policies is to provide overall guidance and direction to the staff and to volunteers.  The policies are intended for internal management guidance only and do not constitute, either implicitly or explicitly, a binding contractual or personnel agreement.  The library reserves the exclusive right to change any of these policies at any time.

Categories of Volunteers

A volunteer is anyone who, without compensation or expectation of compensation beyond reimbursement for legitimate library-approved expenses, performs a task at the direction of and on behalf of the library.  A volunteer must be officially interviewed, screened, and trained by a designated library staff member prior to performance of the volunteer assignment.

The library accepts as volunteers those who can commit to long-term support services, as well as Canton students and others participating in community service activities for a definite term of service.  In these cases, the supervising organization must provide the details and responsibility of the arrangement under which volunteers would be placed at the library, any paperwork or forms required for documenting hours of service, and the name and telephone number of a contact person within the organization. 

Selection and Retention of Volunteers

The library accepts the service of volunteers with the understanding that such service is at the sole discretion of the library.  Library department heads recruit, screen, interview, train, direct and evaluate volunteers.  Prior to acceptance as a volunteer, all applicants must fill out an application form and meet with the head of a department.  Volunteers are selected based upon their qualifications in relation to the needs of the library at any given time, and the volunteer’s ability to commit to a consistent schedule.  If there are no suitable volunteer opportunities available, individual application forms will be kept on file for one year.  Applicants will be called if there is a project that matches their interests and qualifications.  Volunteers agree that the library may, at any time, and for whatever reason, decide to terminate the volunteer’s relationship with the library.  The volunteer may, at any time, for whatever reason, decide to terminate the volunteer’s relationship with the library.  Notice of a decision by a volunteer to terminate his/her service should be communicated as soon as possible to the volunteer’s supervisor.


After initial screening, volunteers will receive specific on-the-job training to provide the information and skills necessary for successful performance of their volunteer assignment.  The timing and methods for delivery of such training will be appropriate to the complexity and demands of the assignment.  During the training period the department head or staff member responsible for the training will assess the volunteer’s performance.  Evaluation may include, but not be limited to: observation, spot-checking of assignments, recap of rules and procedures, and review of attendance record.


Recognition is an important component of the volunteer program.  Staff members will thank volunteers for their work on a regular, informal basis.  In addition, the Trustees and staff will show their appreciation for the contributions of volunteers by coordinating a yearly, formal recognition during National Volunteer Week, which is also National Library Week, usually the third week in April.

Approved by Board of Library Trustees

Voted, May 20, 2014