Volunteer Services Policy

Volunteers are important partners in The Seattle Public Library's mission to bring people, information and ideas together to enrich lives and build community. The Volunteer Services

Program enables the Library to engage community members who desire to provide assistance and service in support of the Library's programs, services and work.

The Volunteer Services Program guides and supports designated staff liaisons and their work with volunteers, including recruitment, training, supervision and recognition of volunteers. The Library board of trustees supports using volunteer expertise to strengthen and support the efforts of Library staff members. Volunteers are not intended to replace existing paid staff members.

Policy Statement
Volunteer services support the work of Library employees. The Library may establish and participate in volunteer engagement programs that support its mission and public service priorities. These volunteer opportunities enable individuals to provide services to the Library and increase its capacity to serve the residents of Seattle. The Library reserves the right to offer volunteer positions to only those applicants who are a good fit based on their qualifications, the needs of the Library, the results of a criminal background check and other pertinent factors.

Participation in the Library's Volunteer Services Program
Participants who volunteer for the Library are expected to conduct themselves as ambassadors of the Library. They are expected to adhere to the volunteer service descriptions, the Library's Rules of Conduct and all guidelines in the Volunteer Orientation Handbook. Volunteer assignments may be concluded by either the volunteer or the Library at any time. 

Minors as volunteers
Teens must be at least 14 years old and currently enrolled in high school to be eligible to volunteer at the Library. Teens who are under 18 must have parental or guardian approval and cannot volunteer for more than four hours per day.

Providing references for volunteers
The Library does not hold volunteers to strict job performance standards. For employment, college or scholarship applications, a Human Resources staff member may only verify the volunteer's dates of service and total volunteer hours, as well as describe the volunteer services the volunteer provided at the Library. 

Library staff members as volunteers
Non-exempt staff members who are eligible to receive overtime and/or compensatory time may not participate as a volunteer in any capacity.

Exempt staff members who are not eligible to receive overtime and/or compensatory time may provide volunteer services, with approval from their manager and the Human Resources Director.

All staff members may volunteer for the Friends of The Seattle Public Library and The Seattle Public Library Foundation because these organizations are distinct entities from the Library.

Criminal history background check
The Library's Human Resources Division reserves the right to conduct criminal background checks on all volunteer applicants. Based on the results of a criminal background check, volunteer applicants may be ineligible for a volunteer assignment. 

Court-ordered volunteers
The Library does not offer volunteer assignments for individuals who are required to complete court-ordered community service.

Public Engagement and Outreach Opportunities
As part of its public engagement and staff support programs, the Library may participate in or establish public employment or volunteer programs to provide opportunities and/or training for and/or service to the City by various segments of its citizenry. Such programs have included and may include youth training and/or volunteer programs, adult training and/or volunteer programs, work study and student volunteer programs, community volunteer service programs, and other programs with similar purposes for enriching public and community engagement services at all locations. The Library may elect to offer only certain types of public engagement and outreach opportunities at any given time.

This policy applies to all individuals who provide volunteer services for The Seattle Public Library.


Adopted: April 27, 2016
Supersedes: Supersedes Volunteers adopted Oct. 24, 1991.