Reference and Web Services Volunteer Program
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
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
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.
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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