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Reference and Web Services Volunteer Program


Overview|   Requirements|   Compensation|   How to Apply


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Overview

The National Library of Medicine's Reference and Web Services Section welcomes applications for its volunteer program, from:

  • undergraduate students in any discipline,
  • graduate students in library science or information studies, and
  • other qualified individuals of any age and background who want to offer their experiences and skills.

The RWS volunteer program offers real-world, hands-on, and results-oriented experience in the largest medical library in the world with one of the finest medical collections and online resources. NLM/RWS is an Official Certifying Organization for the President's Volunteer Service Awards, an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Individuals who participate in this program can expect a valuable introduction to a unique part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HHS rated in the Top-20 in The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government in 2013.

Under the direct supervision of permanent library staff, selected volunteers will undertake projects, or a combination of projects based on their interests, skills, and the needs of the National Library of Medicine.

We offer volunteer opportunities in the following administrative and program areas:

  • Circulation and Reference Desk Assistance
  • Clerical and Administrative Assistance
  • Collection Development and Management
  • Data Mining and Analysis
  • Social Media and Publicity
  • Instruction and Outreach
  • Research and Writing
  • Web Support and Development

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Requirements

You can apply to volunteer with us if you are at least 18 years old, able to work any time between 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday, and you are:

  • offering your services on your own time,
  • donating your service as a member of a volunteer or charitable organization,
  • receiving fellowship or stipend support from outside organizations with whom you have non-employment relationships,
  • working at outside organizations, on a sabbatical, or a leave of absence, or
  • volunteering services unrelated to your official duties and responsibilities (if a federal government employee), and outside of your normal work hours.

Bring your government- or school-issued identification with you. Also, you must have your own health insurance and show proof of coverage.

If you are a permanent resident, the NIH Division of International Services (DIS), Office of Research Services (ORS) must approve you to volunteer. Contact the NIH DIS/ORS at 301-496-6166.

Special requirements for non-immigrant foreign nationals: You must have appropriate visas that support activities at NIH.

Unfortunately, due to regulations, volunteer services may not be accepted from individuals who are:

  • Commissioned Officers in the U.S. Public Health Service or members of other uniformed services, or
  • Paid employees of outside organizations who are not on sabbaticals or leaves of absence, unless their volunteer service is on their own time

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Compensation

Pay: You will not be paid to volunteer.

Learning Credit: Students who want course credit for volunteering should arrange this with their academic advisors.

Time Commitment: Depending on needs of the RWS and matching with candidate availability, and always between 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday.

Transhare: You can apply for Transhare to help with the costs of getting to and from the Library.

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How to Apply

Interested persons should send the following materials by e-mail to the Head of Reference and Web Services in the Public Services Division:

  • a cover letter explaining your:
    • interests, skills, and expertise and the NLM/RWS program area(s) of specific interest, including how your background would benefit the program area(s) of specific interest,
    • availability, including how many hours per week could be offered, and for how long (e.g. 3 months, 6 months, etc.), and
  • your current resume.

The NLM highly encourages applicants from diverse backgrounds to apply.

Please note that NLM/RWS volunteer opportunities do not result in employment with the NLM.


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http://www.nlm.nih.gov/services/volunteer.html