Winter 2020: Volunteers in Libraries

This month we’re looking into the Community Engagement category. Volunteers in libraries are a long standing practice, though their implementation and use varies widely. We’re looking at the history of volunteers in B.C. and exploring questions about their validity, use, pros, cons, and current practices.


Curry, A. (1996). Volunteers in unionized Canadian public libraries: A Finely Tuned PartnershipLibraries & Culture31(1), 144.
Note: This article gives a historical perspective to volunteers in a specific context. Despite the publication date, it provides a needed frame for discussion. If your group is outside of Canada (or B.C. specifically), you may find the supplementary report below enough fodder for discussion. Or you could investigate the history of volunteers in libraries in your locale.

Optional Supplementary Report
Engage, Cultivate, Provide, Assess: An Outreach Model for Serving All Children and Families White Paper“, American Library Association, December 30, 2019.

Discussion Questions

  • Does your library utilize volunteers? In what capacity?
  • What are the challenges and rewards of volunteers in libraries?
  • What are best practices around volunteers in libraries, specifically with regards to outreach services?

Discussion Group Meeting

Sunday, February 23rd from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. The Vancouver group will be meeting at the Athlete’s Village Housing Co-op Common Room located at 151 W 1st Ave. Please email us for more details.