Volunteers in Special Libraries

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ABSTRACT: The contributions of volunteers in special libraries have not been well-documented or researched. However, anecdotal evidence shows that volunteers have played a key role in the formation of many special libraries and continue to lend their skills and knowledge to these libraries. This column explores examples from the literature and gives a brief case study on the various ways philatelic libraries use volunteers. The scope of the column includes traditional unpaid volunteers, remote volunteers, crowdsourcing, internships, job training programs, and other voluntary or nontraditional work. Volunteer labor is far from free in terms of cost to the organization, but can provide benefits beyond simply unpaid labor including subject expertise, special skills, and community building. Special libraries looking to begin or expand volunteer programs are advised to study the lessons learned from other types of libraries and organizations with successful volunteer programs. Successfully managing volunteers requires careful planning and coordination just as managing paid staff does.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-502
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Library Administration
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 18 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Administration
  • Library and Information Sciences


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