To best serve the more than 1.7 million visitors who come each year, eager to view the magnificent Thomas Jefferson Building and learn about the treasures it contains, the Library’s Visitor Services Office relies on nearly 300 volunteers to greet the visitors and help them plan their visits, guide researchers, and provide tours. There are three different volunteer positions:
Each fall, the Library's Visitor Services Office conducts an extensive 16-week training program designed to equip volunteer docents with the information and skills necessary to lead tours of the Library's historic Thomas Jefferson building. The classes are presented by Library staff as well as experts from outside the Library.
The curriculum covers all aspects of the Library and prepares docents to give interesting and informative tours. The curriculum focuses on the Library’s past, present and future; its organization and infrastructure; its curatorial divisions and programs; the care and use of its collections; and the art and architecture of the Thomas Jefferson Building.
Classes are conducted twice weekly, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Upon completion of the classroom training, each docent-in-training will give a qualifying tour of the Thomas Jefferson Building. After qualification, docents are expected to commit to a weekly half-day shift for a period of three years (including the training).
This volunteer activity offers an individual the opportunity to serve at the Library’s five busy Information Desks, in the Jefferson and Madison Buildings. The volunteer greets and orients researchers and visitors as they arrive at the Library. Since the volunteer may be the only Library representative a visitor meets, it is desirable that the volunteer have a friendly, patient, and informative disposition.
After the half-day training, Orientation/Information Desk Volunteers are asked to make a one-year commitment to the program.
Researcher Guidance Volunteer
As the title suggests, this volunteer assists the researcher in mapping out a logical strategy for using the Library's vast resources. The Researcher Guidance Volunteer (RGV) seeks to organize the new researcher's initial forays throughout the Library's sprawling campus. The RGV is not trained to focus on research projects but rather to counsel the novice researcher on the most efficient route to visit all relevant reading rooms, answers questions of a strategic nature, and allay the researcher’s apprehensions.
Upon successful completion of the week-long training, Researcher Guidance Volunteers are asked to make a two-year commitment to the position.