One of the ways the BPL fulfills the strategic plan’s Sustainable Organization principle is to act on the strategy “Enhance volunteer and docent programs.” That strategy is part of the outcome “Seek out and establish partnerships that enhance services.” The BPL Art and Architecture tour program is actively recruiting and training new guides to add to the corps of 32 active volunteers. Each trainee enters a process of shadowing experienced guides, studying material from the tour guide library, and constructing their own tour under the mentorship of the tour coordinator and a veteran docent. This one-on-one model follows a training and enrichment class offered for both new and experienced guides in the 2012-2013 season. By summer 2015, the goal to increase the active volunteer number to 50.
Throughout the year, the program offers bi-monthly enrichment sessions for all Art and Architecture guides and trainees. Sessions include relevant lectures with conservators, curators, and authors, as well as field trips to museums and historic sites. At each session, there is an opportunity for guides to gather around light refreshments, and the annual guide appreciation party in December allows volunteers to further strengthen their bond with the program and with each other.