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Volunteer Policy



Volunteer opportunities at the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield (hence known as PLJCS) are intended to: 

  • Supplement the efforts of paid library staff in meeting the demands for quality public service. 

  • Serve as a method for encouraging citizens to become familiar with their library and the services being offered. 

PLJCS may make use of the services of interested volunteers to supplement, but not replace, regular services provided by library staff. Volunteers will not be used in place of hiring full- or part-time staff. Volunteers may apply for paid positions under the same conditions as other outside applicants. 




Volunteer:  Any individual, 16 years of age or older, who assists with work done at PLJCS without remuneration. All volunteers must be formally accepted by the library prior to the performance of assigned tasks (see selection of volunteers). 

Student Intern:  Any high school or college student who performs volunteer work without remuneration as part of an authorized school program to earn academic credit. All interns must be formally accepted by the library prior to the performance of assigned tasks and are accepted under the same conditions as volunteers (see selection of volunteers). 


Selection of Volunteers 


Volunteers are selected based on their qualifications in relation to the needs of the library at any given time and based on the individual’s ability to commit to a consistent schedule of volunteer hours. 

Interested individuals must complete a PLJCS volunteer application and test which will be reviewed by the appropriate Department Head. Volunteer applications can be obtained at the Patron Services Desk within the library. Any volunteer under the age of 18 must have written permission from a parent or guardian to work at the Library. Applicants will be interviewed to determine suitability for the particular service required. A brief operational orientation and overview will be delivered to the volunteer by the interviewer. The volunteer, if accepted at this time, will be given their assigned work day and time. 


PLJCS may check references and has the absolute right to decline anyone as a volunteer without cause or statement of reason. All volunteers must be free of criminal convictions pertaining to juveniles. All personal information requested by the library and provided by volunteers is considered necessary for the normal conduct of business and is confidential in nature. It will not be disclosed to anyone, outside the course of normal business, without the volunteer’s permission, except in cases of subpoena, court order, or other appropriate law enforcement request. 

Volunteers will be given a copy of the description of volunteer tasks that apply to them specifically. Reasonably accurate documentation of duties performed is important to the organization and the volunteer, and establishes the boundaries of responsibility for the volunteer.


Descriptions of volunteer tasks are subject to change depending on need. Over time, as the volunteer’s interests, training, experience, performance and the library’s needs indicate, volunteers may change or add other more difficult responsibilities, thereby increasing their value to the library. 

If there are no suitable volunteer opportunities, the application form will be kept on file for a period of six months. Applicants will be contacted if a project is identified that matches their interests or qualifications. 




Volunteer expectations are as follows: 

  • Familiarize and abide by all Library procedures and policies. 

  • Present a positive image to the public as an ambassador of the Library and of the County of Johnston. This includes maintaining a professional, friendly demeanor and conducting interactions with dignity, courtesy, and consideration at all times. 

  • Dress and groom appropriately for a business environment and in keeping with work assignments. 

  • Regard all personal information or library use information about patrons or library staff as confidential. No information learned is to be discussed or transmitted to anyone except in the course of their official duties as a volunteer. 

  • Be open and honest regarding intent, goals, and skills. 

  • Accept only realistic assignments and have a clear understanding of the job. 

  • Carry out duties promptly and reliably. 

  • Cooperate with the staff and accept the guidance and direction of the supervisor and other Library staff. 

  • Participate in any training required by the Library. 

  • Discuss satisfactions, dissatisfactions, or any other concerns with the volunteer supervisor so that they may be resolved. 

  • Understand the function of the paid staff, maintain a smooth working relationship with them, and stay within the bounds of volunteer responsibility. This includes directing all questions to a staff member if approached by a patron. Staff members are trained to deal with questions about the library's collection, services, policies, and procedures. 

  • Be punctual, and notify your volunteer supervisor of absences as much in advance as possible. 

  • Complete all volunteer work within normal library hours when a supervisor is readily available. Exceptions may be made by the Library Director. 

  • Notify the volunteer supervisor if you change or end your volunteer time with the Library. 

  • Keep a record of volunteer hours by signing in and out of the Volunteer Log. Wear a name badge or tag that identifies you as a Library Volunteer. 

  • Be alert, sober, and drug free while volunteering.  And adhere to the PLJCS commitment to maintain a drug and alcohol free work environment.

  • Respect that Library-owned equipment and supplies are for library use only and may not be used for personal business. 

  • Understand that visits and telephone calls from family or friends during your assigned volunteer hours are generally not appropriate and should be kept to a minimum. 

  • Refrain from soliciting the general public for support or contributions to any event or activity while working at a volunteer assignment. 

  • Refrain from representing themselves as anything other than a volunteer while on assignment for the library, unless specifically authorized and to the extent specified in writing for a specific purpose. 

  • Refrain from using his/her affiliation as a volunteer with the library in connection with partisan politics, religious matters, or community issues.

General Provisions 


Nothing in this policy shall be deemed to create a contract between the volunteer or intern and PLJCS and the County of Johnston. Both the volunteer and PLJCS have the right to terminate the volunteer’s association with the Library at any time, for any reason, with or without cause. Volunteer recognition is based on quality of performance and length of service. PLJCS will, upon request, provide letters of reference for the volunteer, if deemed appropriate. 

Neither the County of Johnston nor the library provides any medical, health, accident, or worker's compensation benefits for any volunteer. In the event of an accident, an injury, or a medical situation occurring while working for the library, a non-employee Incident Report Form would need to be filled out by the volunteer.

Library Administration understands that circumstances may occur that would necessitate varying the application of this policy, and these instances will be handled on a case-by-case basis by the Library Director. 


Examples and Descriptions of Volunteer Assignments

This list of assignments is not exhaustive and can be altered due to the needs of the library:

  • Shelving: Sorting recently returned books, DVDs, and audiobooks and returning them to their appropriate shelf location. 

  • Shelf Reading: Reading the spines of the items on the shelf and rearranging any materials that are out of order. 

  • Straightening Shelves: Straighten the materials on a shelf for uniformity. 

  • Patron Assistance: Assist patrons with matching books with their reading interests, book retrieval, and catalog searches. 

  • Phoning Patrons: Calling patrons to inform them that a requested title is now available for pick-up. 

  • Story Time Craft Help: Cutting, counting, organizing materials needed for story time crafts. 

  • Children’s Program Help: Cutting, counting, organizing materials needed for Children’s programming. 

  • Processing materials: Preparing new items for checkout. 

  • Circulation Desk: Using computers to assist with check-in of materials. May also assist in answering basic reference and/or computer related questions. 

  • Book Sale: Assist the PLJCS Friends of the Library in their book sales. 

  • Library Decoration/Display and Maintenance: Help organize and set up displays throughout the library. 

  • Teen Program Help: Cutting, counting, organizing materials needed for Teen programming. 

  • Discards: Physically pull titles from shelves that have been tagged for removal from the collection. This may also include using a computer to remove these titles from the library catalog. 

  • Special projects/events assistance: Help with long-term projects. Help with special events that may occur outside library hours.

  • YA Book Reviews: Writing reviews for other patrons on Young Adult material. 

  • Exterior or Yard Maintenance: Picking up trash around the outside of the library and parking lot.

Approved by the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield Board of Trustees on 07/25/2022.

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