The top ten volunteer recruitment strategies reported by library literacy coordinators in 2017 were:

  • VolunteerMatch
  • Library flyers, postcards, displays, and encouragement from library staff
  • Word of mouth (tutor-to-tutor recruitment)
  • Presentations at community events
  • Library website and blog
  • Newspaper articles/editorials
  • Social media including Facebook
  • Craigslist
  • Farmers markets and other community events
  • Banners outside the library

When recruiting volunteers, the findings of a Literacy Program Public Awareness and Action Project conducted with consultant Joan Frye Williams in 2006 are still relevant. The Literacy Market Survey Results told us that:

  • Volunteers want to give back.
  • Volunteers want to get reward for their efforts.
  • Volunteers are often at some point of change in their life.
  • Volunteers often think they need teaching experience to contribute to a library literacy program—be sure to dispel this assumption in your recruitment materials.

Literacy coordinators discuss strategies for recruiting tutors:

Panelists: Diane Moseley, Huntington Beach Public Library; Trina Camping, Woodland Public Library; Cheryl Weiss, Newport Beach Public Library. Recorded at the 2015 New Coordinators Orientation. (4:31)


VolunteerMatch and Get Involved

The organization VolunteerMatch matches non-profit organizations with highly-qualified volunteers who are passionate about an organization’s cause. The Get Involved project provides public libraries with VolunteerMatch memberships, supports a community of practice for California libraries who work with volunteers, and provides access to a database of resources.

An overview and tips on how to use VolunteerMatch to recruit skilled volunteers:

Presenter: Carla Lehn, California State Library. Recorded at the 2015 New Coordinators Orientation. (22:39)