Volunteer: Give the Gift of Time

How to Begin

To volunteer at The Library (14 years of age or older) submit an Application for Volunteer Service. The Library welcomes independent individual commitments which we screen through personal references and background checks. Volunteers pay for background check fees; and reimbursement is offered after twenty hours of volunteer service. Group representatives are encouraged to call the Volunteer Program Coordinator to discuss group participation in The Library's volunteer program.


*NEW* Due to changes in state law (Act 15 of 2015) Dauphin County Library System is requesting that all adult volunteers wishing to serve must now submit background clearances before beginning their volunteer service. Effective 8/25/15 you must submit a PA Criminal History Clearance, a PA Child Abuse Clearance, and an FBI fingerprint report prior to placement. You may sign a waiver instead of submitting a fingerprint report - If you have been a resident of Pennsylvania for 10 years, are applying for an unpaid (volunteer) position, and can swear in writing you are not disqualified (from volunteer service with The Library) based upon a conviction of an offense under the new law protecting the welfare of children.

You may find instructions at the following links.


DCLS accepts Court Ordered (ARD- Accelerated Rehabilitative Dispositions) Community Service requests. A court document stating the charges/offense must accompany the application for processing and consideration. Do not submit ARD papers.

DCLS also accepts community service requests to meet school, church, honor society, housing or civic organization requirements. Documentation and/or contact information from the sponsoring organization is needed and should be submitted with the application.

Download and print the two-page Application for Volunteer Service or ask for a preprinted copy from your local library. Send completed, signed, and dated applications, along with support documents, to The Library Volunteer Program Coordinator, at 101 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101 or through interlibrary delivery from any customer service desk staff person. Questions about the application may be directed to the Volunteer Program Coordinator at 717-234-4961 ext. 107 or volunteer@dcls.org.


Finding Your Place

volunteers 1Every effort will be made to match your individual interests to a volunteer position. Normally volunteers serve two hours each week on a specified day. Long and short term assignments, flexible scheduling, and special training can sometimes be arranged for individual volunteer work. Group projects can be designed with specific needs or goals in mind. Placements are offered based on volunteer availability and a library need. Placement is never guaranteed.

As a prospective volunteer, you will be asked to attend an orientation session at which time the background clearance forms will be completed, fees collected, and all questions answered. Orientation will be your personal introduction to the library workplace; offered on the day and time of your regularly scheduled volunteer service, at the Library where you will serve.



Volunteer Opportunities

Process Book Donations: Groups or individual volunteers to sort, pack, label, stack, and distribute gently used books. Need to have the ability to lift up to 40 lbs. Opportunities are available Tuesday through Saturday during regular library hours; extremely flexible scheduling and free parking.

Assist with Youth Service Programs: Volunteers support staff at youth programs - help set up room or displays, distribute materials, meet and greet participants, take part in activities, always working under direction of library staff. A two-hour weekly commitment is required in order to serve as a volunteer.

volunteerDelivery assistance: Volunteers assist drivers making multiple stops at libraries. Duties include handling and sorting materials while driver makes deliveries. Volunteers must be able to lift 25 pounds and climb in and out of the vehicle. Full day schedule on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; variety of routes throughout Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry Counties

E-reader patron support: Help library patrons with downloading and accessing electronic library materials. Position requires basic understanding of e-readers and e-audio players, and a commitment to serve one or two (1-2) hours each week. Ability to troubleshoot digital device compatibility is extremely helpful. Support and training on OverDrive (software) provided as needed. These positions require patience working with all types of people with all levels of computer experience.

Computer basics patron support: Volunteers assist patrons with basic computer tasks, on-line job searches, resume writing and preparation of on-line job applications. From use of the mouse, keyboard, printing and personal storage devices to signing up for email accounts, volunteers help locate and access online resources. Two hour commitment during library hours is required. These positions require patience working with all types of people with all levels of computer experience.

General Library Work: Volunteers work on tasks related to the collection – shelving, shelf-reading, weeding, pull lists, cleaning media and book covers, and auditing CD/DVD discs and cases. Volunteers help keep items in good condition and ready for the next patron to borrow. (More than 1.253 million items were circulated at The Library in 2011.)

To hear about other volunteer opportunities, ask questions, and discuss special requirements contact the Volunteer Program Coordinator, 717-234-4961 ext 107 or email volunteer@dcls.org.


Join the Team

live united groupEight thousand–two hundred-and four hours (8,204 hours) were contributed by 227 volunteers during 2013. Many hours were dedicated to re-shelving the over one million items circulated during the year. Other valuable services included assisting patrons with computer use and e-reader devices, supporting staff at youth service programs, searching for items requested by other libraries, shelf reading and cleaning book covers. Each task completed by a volunteer not only frees up a staff person to provide customer service, but also creates a better experience for the next library patron. The Library sets high performance standards to which our volunteers are measured.



Make a difference and feel appreciated

hannah murrayThe Library values volunteers who help us meet our mission: to strengthen the community by promoting literacy and providing resources and services for information, education, and recreation. We attempt to show our appreciation in many ways. Tangible methods include: annual selection of The Library Volunteer of the Year who is recognized at the annual Light the Way to Learning Banquet; a spring reception and a book added to the collection in honor of volunteers serving over fifteen hours during the preceding year - Service of over 100 hours a year makes you a member of the Centennial Club; and holiday greetings with a free DVD rental for those serving over 20 hours each year. Intangible rewards include making a difference, giving back to the community, and impacting library patron experiences on a grand scale. Each volunteer gives for different reasons, and each takes away different personal rewards.

On Sunday, April 6, 2014 volunteers attended a reception in their honor. See the list of 102 volunteers recognized for their efforts and the titles added to the collection with commemorative bookplates noting service in 2013.


nancyDCLS Volunteer of the Year

At the end of each January, the Personnel Committee of the DCLS Board of Trustees selects a volunteer to receive the Dottie and Henry Swartz Volunteer Excellence Award for their efforts during the previous year. Nominations for DCLS Volunteer of the Year come in from the eight locations and six departments all served by volunteers.

Nancy Schwanger of ESA was chosen for her service in 2013. Nancy was recognized at the Light the Way to Learning Banquet and the Volunteer Appreciation Reception in April - DCLS events which often “bookend” National Volunteer Week observed each April. In addition to regular duties, Nancy assisted ably with additional tasks related to the recent library software upgrade. Nancy was noted for being an “exceptionally flexible and dedicated volunteer who will help in any way she can, and do whatever is needed”. The Library is pleased to recognize the exemplary service of volunteers who help us meet our mission. See the list of past recipients beginning with Dottie & Henry Swartz.