Library Volunteers

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Library Volunteers

Postby David McCray » Sun Dec 12, 2010 10:19 am

I wonder if someone could answer these questions and I am not talking about" Friends of the Library" I am talking about individuals who just want to show up and work at the Library such as volunteers who work at hospitals

Since I will no longer be coordinating the Business Expo a I am looking for something where I can still do some volunteering for the town but without the politics that comes with a board.

How many working volunteers does the Merrimack Library have?


How many hours total did they work this year?


What is the process for volunteering at the library?

What are the duties of the volunteers

I went to the web site looking for this info and couldnt find it, albeit it may have been staring me in the face and I missed, it but I couldnt find anything

There are many people who dont want to deal with the politics of being on a town board that would love to volunteer at the library.

Just looking for info for me and others who may also be curious and view the forum.

Thanks
Dave
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Re: Library Volunteers

Postby NH » Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:10 pm

When I was on the council and was reviewing their budget at a meeting, I asked about volunteers. If my memory is correct, they stated that they do not have volunteers. When I asked why they did not seek volunteers they stated that it would interfere with positions. At that time I made a statement about how there were many who would volunteer for the library (since that was my first volunteer position when I was in high school) and they were missing a good opportunity for extra help and community involvement. I know that you can't count on volunteers for important positions nor can they man the library to keep the library open alone, but they could be very helpful in other areas. I'm not sure what their philosophy is now but I would think it would be a good time to take advantage of extra help.
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Re: Library Volunteers

Postby nis » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:36 am

If I understand correctly, volunteers can't be used INSTEAD of employees.
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Re: Library Volunteers

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:49 pm

nis
That's what the law states. We cannot replace employees with volunteers. So our only recourse is to lay off a few and leave the rest to do more work. Similar to what happens out in the real world. I don't know who can change that RSA as it appears to come from a state law and not something restricted to Merrimack. However, I wonder what is the expiration date for allowing volunteers? I notice the RSA didn't state any period of time. It's one of the more obnoxious laws on the books - specifically because it states it can't be done during financial crisis.
REPUBLICAN - BECAUSE NOT EVERYONE CAN BE ON WELFARE
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Re: Library Volunteers

Postby Brian McCarthy » Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:20 pm

Believe its a notch above State - Federal.

There are also rules around someone volunteering to do something which is in the course of their regular job.
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Re: Library Volunteers

Postby Pat McGrath » Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:24 pm

The Merrimack Public Library does in fact use volunteers, just like many of the surrounding towns make use of them. Typically they help on book sales, special events, and service on committees. We have had individuals from the Merrimack High School Get Set program help as part of their life skills training to do some re-shelving.

You have to keep in mind that the library gets 145,000 visitors a year who borrow 291,000 items. So you have to consider that is 291,000 items checked out; 291,000 items checked back in and 291,000 items that have to be re-shelved. You simply can not have volunteers at the circulation desk for reasons of confidentiality and the fact that they collect and process fines.

So to handle that volume of material (291,000) plus all the calls from patrons and the 145,000 visitors, 324 programs, you can not rely on walk in volunteers and provide regular and meaningful library service under New Hampshire state law.

Please review NH RSA 202-A for further information on the laws governing public libraries in New Hampshire.
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Re: Library Volunteers

Postby TonyRichardson » Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:38 pm

Pat McGrath wrote:The Merrimack Public Library does in fact use volunteers, just like many of the surrounding towns make use of them. Typically they help on book sales, special events, and service on committees. We have had individuals from the Merrimack High School Get Set program help as part of their life skills training to do some re-shelving.

You have to keep in mind that the library gets 145,000 visitors a year who borrow 291,000 items. So you have to consider that is 291,000 items checked out; 291,000 items checked back in and 291,000 items that have to be re-shelved. You simply can not have volunteers at the circulation desk for reasons of confidentiality and the fact that they collect and process fines.

So to handle that volume of material (291,000) plus all the calls from patrons and the 145,000 visitors, 324 programs, you can not rely on walk in volunteers and provide regular and meaningful library service under New Hampshire state law.

Please review NH RSA 202-A for further information on the laws governing public libraries in New Hampshire.



145,000 non-unique visitors...

Throwing the 145k number out without explanation makes it appear far more impressive than warranted.
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Re: Library Volunteers

Postby andysinnh » Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:44 pm

TonyRichardson wrote:145,000 non-unique visitors...

Throwing the 145k number out without explanation makes it appear far more impressive than warranted.

Assuming the library was open 365 days a year, 8 hours a day- the 145000 number equates to 397 visitors per day, or about 50 per hour. Not sure what level of impressive you're looking for - but this isn't an insignificant number - whether non-unique or not....
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Re: Library Volunteers

Postby TonyRichardson » Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:03 pm

andysinnh wrote:
TonyRichardson wrote:145,000 non-unique visitors...

Throwing the 145k number out without explanation makes it appear far more impressive than warranted.

Assuming the library was open 365 days a year, 8 hours a day- the 145000 number equates to 397 visitors per day, or about 50 per hour. Not sure what level of impressive you're looking for - but this isn't an insignificant number - whether non-unique or not....


There is a huge difference between

145000 x 1 visit

14500 x 10 visits

1450 x 100 visits

Surely people can see that?
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Re: Library Volunteers

Postby Dennis King » Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:37 pm

Say 1450 with 100 visits (assuming you accept the number), how many just come to sit and read the newspaper? How many just come to use the computers? How many come to attend a meeting? I have to agree, I see a lot of inflating here to appear more than they are. As I posted on another thread, the library is the perfect place to try privatization, I thought of a private business model but a non profit might also work. Let them have a for profit bookstore and coffee shop and charge a dollar a year in rent in exchange for them running the library. That could work, anything is better than the 1.1 million dollar expense we have now.

Close the library, let all the people go and put out an RFP, the time is now!
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Re: Library Volunteers

Postby andysinnh » Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:54 pm

Geesh - put any fact/figure in front of some folks, and the significance is lost in the fog of perception.

A library, as well as any business, is based off of foot traffic - and rarely are the visitors all unique. Repeat business, in other words. Regardless of whether you think the average of a visitor per minute is large or small - it shows that there's usage of the library by the residents of merrimack, and it has value. Whether you feel it's 'critical' or not - that's a matter of perception, depending on whether you use it or not. One thing not discussed is the traffic of the network of shared volumes between libraries, and the remote access to books that are in Merrimack from other venues. Go online sometime and search for a book and see where it might be located - and that you can in fact reserve one and have it brought to your library when it's available.

I personally don't use the library often. But I also don't want to see it go away either since so many do rely upon it for a myriad of reasons. And having worked in the private sector all my life, I'm not sold on the privatization on something like the library, because I know that once it becomes a service-based business, decisions around revenue will be made that aren't always at the benefit of the end-user. I'd be very interested to see if any of Dennis' figures hold water, becauase it sounds pretty random in terms of funding and resultant benefit.

andy
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Re: Library Volunteers

Postby nis » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:29 pm

"how many just come to sit and read the newspaper? How many just come to use the computers? How many come to attend a meeting?" - I am not sure I understand correctly. Are you saying those people are not using the library? So, the library is only "used" when you check out a book? Just curious.
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