Marshalltown Public Library


Mission: Marshalltown Public Library exists to provide residents of Marshalltown and Marshall County with materials and services that meet their needs for recreation, information, education, and cultural awareness.

Location: Marshalltown (31.1 miles from Grinnell College)

Needs: We need help with programs/events, plan and provide programs, assist with creation of resources (i.e. videos, especially in languages other than English about library services), tech help or simple assistance for ESL patrons (like help filling out a form).

The main purpose of the Volunteer Program is to enhance and extend library services and programs. Volunteers help the library meet and exceed its goals and objectives by providing enthusiasm, added talents, and a fresh perspective. Library volunteers play an important role as partners in the library’s mission of connecting people to the world of ideas and information.

More needs include:

  • Shelving books and DVDs, straightening and organizing shelves, straightening and organizing shelves, preparing books for sale in the Book Store, reviewing DVD orders as they arrive.
  • Tech Coaches to help patrons with their smartphone, tablet, laptop, or other devices.
  • Prairie Garden Volunteers to help weed, mow, compost, mulch, plant and prune.
  • Helping with annual events such as the book sale, Battle of the Books, Friends of the Library annual appeal, and youth programs.

We try to match our applicants’ interests, abilities, and schedule with available volunteer opportunities.



  • One-time events: yes
  • Ongoing: yes

When is service needed: Summer is a very busy time for the youth department of the library (when we could use extra help)—we would be planning for this in the winter/spring. Programs and events the rest of the year are usually planned at least 1-2 months in advance. We also could specifically plan programs to coincide with the availability of students (both ongoing, like Play Day, Conversation Circles or special one-time events).

Number of hours: 3-5 hours a week – also flexible hours, as much or little as is possible for the volunteer. We try to match our needs with the volunteer’s schedule.


  • In-person: yes
  • Hybrid in-person/virtual possible: yes
  • Fully virtual possible: yes


Prerequisites: Must be at least 16 years old, background check, will not take the place of paid library staff, screened to determine their appropriateness to volunteer at the library, and assessed to determine the best volunteer assignment for them.

Background check required: yes

Equipment/logistics needed: Ability to reliably travel to and from Marshalltown from Grinnell. Most volunteers or interns have used their own computers, if needed, but we do have computers that can be used. If someone helped with making videos, they may need access to video editing software and whatever else would be ideal for this.


Training supplied: Training for volunteers in programs would entail familiarity with behavior guidelines for participants, and specifics to the program (i.e. learning how to help with a specific art or STEM activity). Most of this kind of training could occur the same day ahead of the program. If we had an ongoing volunteer, we may do more extensive training involving shelving, working a service desk.


How to apply: Contact Joa LaVille at

Contact: Joa LaVille, 641-754-5738,


Operation information: The Marshalltown Public library was established as a free municipal library in 1898. It moved to the building at 36 N. Center Street in 1902 after Andrew Carnegie donated $30,000 for the construction of a new library building. The Leise Addition, just west of the original Carnegie building, was added in 1975. The library’s current building, at 105 West Boone Street, was completed in December 2008.  The Marshalltown Public Library meets Iowa public library standards and is accredited by the State Library of Iowa.

Address: 105 W. Boone St 50158, Marshalltown

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