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Pilot Project Overview

This project was designed to provide staff of Idaho’s public libraries the resources and training to increase the use of volunteers in the library. The opportunity was structured to focus on up to 20 libraries in a pilot project to receive intensive training to help staff effectively identify, train, and retain volunteers in the library using VolunteerMatch (VM), an online tool for volunteer recruitment. The first year of the project was launched in April 2012.

Our statewide goals include:

  • Creating a statewide focus on volunteering
  • Increasing the awareness of library staff and community members about how volunteers can contribute to their library and/or community
  • Promoting the VM website as a community service available through the library
  • Documenting best practices in volunteer management
  • Increasing use of volunteers in libraries
  • Developing library advocates

This opportunity will help participating libraries to:grp volunteering

  • Maximize limited resources and expand services to meet the diverse needs of patrons
  • Provide creative and challenging volunteer opportunities to the increasing numbers of mid-life adults with specialized skills and a willingness to volunteer
  • Position your library as community center in promoting volunteer opportunities in a variety of organizations
  • Develop library advocates

Year One Overview:

In year one of the pilot, thirteen publicly-funded public libraries met the eligibility requirements and participated in the project. Each of these libraries signed a Memorandum of Understanding and agreed to fulfill all of the project requirements.

Pilot Project participants received:

  • A one year subscription to the VM Community Leader Account 
  • A widget embedded on their website which provides access to the VM community hub of Idaho volunteer listings
  • Two days of face to face training focusing on volunteer engagement and effective use of VM resources
  • Three to five web-based trainings on the use of the VM website tools
  • Ten hours of customized coaching, group mentoring, brainstorming and problem solving in an online Intentional Learning Community
  • Six, one-hour webinars customized to meet the needs of the participants
  • Quarterly web-based refresher trainings as needed and unlimited access to all VM public webinars

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Idaho Commission for Libraries will:

  • Pay all costs related to the VM contract and all travel and per diem costs for participating library staff
  • Provide staff to participate in the training
  • Consult with participants as needed
  • Collect best practices
  • Promote the project statewide
  • Coordinate the onsite training 

Participating libraries are required to:

  • Identify a point of contact person
  • Identify one staff to attend all required trainings
  • Share benefits of volunteering  with staff
  • Identify roles for volunteers in their library
  • Create and/or post volunteer job descriptions on VM
  • Submit statistics from VM to ICfL (VM automatically tracks)
  • Act as an ambassador for the benefits of volunteers in the library
  • Submit a final evaluation to ICfL at the end of the project

Cost to participating libraries:

  • One staff member’s time to:
    • attend both online and face to face trainings
    • work with library staff to identify needs volunteers could fulfill
    • develop and post at least three volunteer job descriptions
    • train and coordinate volunteers

Year Two Opportunity:

Year two of the project will build upon the knowledge gained from the first year. This one year opportunity is available to the first 30 libraries to submit the required memorandum of understanding to the ICfL. Participating libraries will receive a subscription to access to intensive training and support to effectively identify, train, and retain volunteers in the library, and a website widget to promote the concept of volunteering.  The project is slated to begin in May 2013. For details of the project requirements please read the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). If you wish to apply, please print two copies of the MOU, have your library director sign, and mail both copies to the ICfL by May 10, 2013. A copy signed by Ann Joslin, State Librarian, will be retured to you.

Are you interested in establishing a volunteer program, but not sure you want to utilize VolunteerMatch's services? Please contact Erica Compton or Sue Walker and we will be happy to help you get started.

Additional Resources

Vounteer Engagement Resource