Spring 2007

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Queens Library Volunteer Program Celebrates 23 Years of Diversity

Spring 2007 issue of Trustee

Queens Library Volunteers, currently more than 800 strong, are a diverse group of individuals who have been an integral part of the Library’s success over the years.  Volunteers share their knowledge, skills, expertise, enthusiasm, energy and ideas throughout the borough as library staff provide quality customer service to the residents of Queens.
Queens Library provides volunteers with the opportunity to learn new skills or refresh existing ones; gain work experience and explore career options; complete community service requirements; meet new people and share skills and pursue interests.

The Queens Library serves a population of 2.2 million in one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the United States and our volunteers are as diverse as the borough.  We welcome retired staff members, students who need volunteer credit to fulfill school requirements, both on the high school and college level, and both employed and retired customers who want to remain active and/or give back to their communities.  Approximately 10% of our volunteer corps are from organizations whose clients are people with disabilities.  Queens Library staff members welcome all of our volunteers and provide training and support to volunteers from all walks of life.

Many diverse, essential, and special assignments are available to Queens Library volunteers.  We have many rewarding volunteer opportunities including:  assisting  staff in many areas from tutoring adults in literacy and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), maintaining the Library’s collections by shelving materials and creating inviting displays; repairing books, magazines, audio and video tapes, and pamphlets; providing administrative and office support by sending out mass mailings, assisting in daily operations and making telephone calls; providing technical support; assisting staff with preparing materials for distribution throughout the borough; and assisting staff with library programs.
Staff members work with representatives from several organizations and together identify appropriate placements that will fulfill the needs of the Library and meet the requirements and skill levels of the volunteers.  There are several library locations throughout the borough that accommodate the needs of volunteers with disabilities and/or special needs.

With a record 20.2 million items in circulation in fiscal year 2006, Queens Library has one of the highest circulations of any public library system in the world and our volunteers assist library staff to keep their community libraries running efficiently.

Each year a Volunteer Recognition Ceremony and Luncheon is held to honor our entire Volunteer Corps.  The event provides an opportunity for volunteers from across the borough to share experiences with one another and to enjoy some well-earned rewards.  This year we will celebrate our 23rd Annual Ceremony and Luncheon on April 20th during National Volunteer Recognition Week.  

Our entire Volunteer Corps receives a gift along with a parchment Certificate of Appreciation with their hours of service which is sent via our inter-office mail system and the individual supervisors present the items to each volunteer.  During fiscal year 2006, 890 volunteers provided 48,163 hours of service, totaling $385,304 (valued at $8 per hour).
At the ceremony we recognize the accomplishment of volunteers who reach Lifetime Volunteers status, those who have provided at least 500 hours of service.  Each Lifetime Volunteer receives a lapel pin from the Library Director that signifies their achievement.  In addition the President of the Board of Trustees presents the certificates to the Outstanding Volunteers of the Year.  This award is made by nomination, based on written criteria, from the staff throughout our 62 community library locations as well as the Central Library Divisions and the Administrative Departments.  Each year we honor a maximum of 12 volunteers.

An article on the Ceremony is prepared and submitted to News & Notes, which is our in-house staff newsletter, and/or Library Matters, our general publication, and all of the special honorees are named in the article.

At the Queens Library our branding statement is Enrich Your Life™.  We open our doors and our hearts to enrich the lives of our volunteers and in return, our customers’ lives are enriched as well.

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