University of Oregon


Volunteer Job Openings:

  • We regret to say that we are currently at capacity for volunteers in Special Collections & University Archives. Please check back in Fall of 2016. We appreciate your interest!!

  • See general descriptions, below.

Volunteers - General Information:

Volunteers are an important component of the University of Oregon Libraries; they enable us to make our valuable collections available to the public and help us engage our internal and external readers in many enriching programs and services.

The University of Oregon Libraries Volunteer Program is typically associated with our  Department of Special Collections and University Archives ( Occasionally, other departments may be willing to work with volunteers. By joining our team, you become part of a unique group of dedicated individuals who can be found in many areas of Special Collections and University Archives, from orienting researchers, to organizing historic manuscript and photography collections. There are many important ways in which volunteers contribute, making them one of the library's richest resources.

Special Collections and University Archives Volunteer Policies and Description:

Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) houses rare, unique, and valuable materials. At any given time they have a variety of collections and projects to complete. Staff members strive to find projects for volunteers that will be a good learning experience and also meet the needs of the department. Many times, this may include working on a variety of different projects. Volunteers without previous archival experience tend to start with small projects, more clerical duties, or assisting other experienced staff, students, or volunteers on projects.

Volunteers must complete the Volunteer Application Form (see instructions, below). After the form is completed and reviewed, SCUA staff may schedule a meeting/interview with the volunteer to determine fit as well as describe the specific, current projects available at the time (projects in all areas are not always available). SCUA staff may elect not to take on a volunteer after this initial meeting.

At times, SCUA may not be able to take on new volunteers due to staff commitments and timing. They ask that volunteers make a commitment of at least 5 hours/week for an agreed upon length of time with the volunteer supervisor. Hours must be worked during SCUA staff hours, which are generally Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Staff supervisors may, at any time, determine that a volunteer position can no longer be supported due to staff or volunteer commitment or volunteer work performance. Every effort will be made to assist volunteers in improving skills before a volunteer position is terminated.

Note: Due to the nature of library materials that may be considered rare and/or of special local unique value, volunteers may be required to successfully complete a criminal background check. More information may be found at:


SCUA has the following types of volunteer positions:

  • Arrangement and Description
  • Records Management
  • Gift Books
  • Special Projects

The descriptions are generalized for each area. Volunteer assignments may include all duties in a given area or a narrower scope, depending on the department's needs and staffing.

Arrangement and Description:

Will perform a variety of tasks to accomplish the goal of making collections available to the public. Work on collections may range from small collections of one folder or diary to collections containing 50 boxes. Volunteers working on processing collections will develop a processing plan with the volunteer supervisor for each collection as every collection requires a different level of work to make the materials accessible to the public.

Assistant Processor positions:

  • Create access to small and non-complex collections
  • Research and prepare concise, but detailed biographies and scope/content notes for the collections.
  • Create a finding aid, using the Archivists' Toolkit, that will provide access to the collection.
  • Create and/or revise and review a preliminary/final list of box contents.
  • Review materials for possible preservation attention.
  • Re-box and label archival materials when appropriate.
  • Prepare folders for collections, including writing in the appropriate folder headings and keeping track of the processed collections as they grow. May include re-foldering materials, removing fasteners, flattening documents, and organizing by subgroup, alphabetically, or chronologically.
  • Maintain project documentation, including plans and processing notes.
  • Photograph processor: help care for the Rare Photograph collections, creating inventories, moving images into safe containers, and performing basic research to figure out what the picture shows.

Advanced Processor positions:

  • All the duties of an assistant processor position
  • Work on complex collections
  • Sort, arrange, and describe the collection into logical groupings according to archival theory and practice (intellectually and/or physically).
  • May assist in directing an assistant processing student assistant to carry out processing plans.

Records Management:

  • Perform general tasks to support the records management program.
  • Verify paperwork, including checking physical boxes, updating Archivists' Toolkit records, and filing paperwork.
  • Assist in reviewing non-permanent records for disposition.
  • May involve moving boxes within storage facilities.

Gift Books:

  • Search the UO library catalog to determine holdings.
  • Analyze materials to assist in deciding retention of items.
  • Recommend cataloging location for books.

Special Projects:

  • Could include a variety of projects, depending on the needs of the department.

Position Requirements:

While it is not expected that volunteers will have had direct archival or library experience, SCUA staff members are looking for individuals who can meet the following requirements:

  • Familiarity with primary sources and/or experience working/researching with archival collections.
  • Ability to follow detailed policies and procedures.
  • Ability to work independently and with a team.
  • Ability to solve complex problems.
  • Good organizational skills.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Demonstrated ability to write clear text.
  • Demonstrated ability to meet deadlines.
  • Ability to lift and move up to 40-pound boxes.
  • Ability to work independently after initial training.
  • Ability to observe confidentiality restrictions and maintain security of materials.
  • Responsible for maintaining communication with supervisor.

Steps to Becoming a Volunteer:

  1. Once we begin soliciting volunteers again, complete the Volunteer Application Form and send to Patrick Moore,
  2. Your application will be reviewed for specific skills and academic background and you will be contacted within two weeks to schedule an informational interview to discuss areas of interest, special skills or knowledge you may bring to the workplace, possible work schedules, and/or to arrange for any appropriate training.
  3. Once your application is approved, Library Human Resources will send you a Letter of Agreement to sign that outlines conditions and expectations of your appointment.
  4. You will also be asked to sign a UO Liability Form.

Other Library Department Heads may also propose specific types of experiences in other departments or units. Contact Patrick Moore with your ideas!



Created by lastamba on Jun 18, 2012 Last updated Jun 28, 2016
University of Oregon Libraries
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