Volunteering roles in libraries

1. Volunteering roles in libraries

You can volunteer in many different ways in our libraries.

This guide gives a summary about each of our volunteering roles, including:

  • what tasks you’ll be doing
  • skills and experience
  • any other information, like minimum age limits.

If you think you’d like to be a volunteer, please apply now.

2. Bookends: the library shop volunteer

Summary

Bookends, Eastbourne’s library bookshop sells ex-library books and merchandise associated with books and literature.

Working for the Volunteer Bookshop Manager, our bookshop volunteers price and sell books and merchandise. This role involves excellent customer service skills and cash handling. Bookshop volunteers deputise for the Volunteer Manager during their absence.

Tasks

  • Selling books
  • Pricing books
  • Cleaning and preparing books for sale in the shop
  • Display and presentation of books
  • Cash handling and managing
  • Moving and handling items
  • Welcoming and helping to train new volunteers in bookshop procedures

Skills and experience

  • Customer focus
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Retail or library experience (preferable not essential)
  • Literacy and numeracy
  • Ability to work well within a team and using own initiative
  • Cash handling preferable
  • Reliable and punctual timekeeping

Other information

  • We will train you
  • You should be able to volunteer for a minimum of 2 hours a week
  • The minimum age for this role is 14 years

3. Family history volunteer

Summary

Supporting library customers to research their family history using online, microfilm and paper-based resources; either on a pre-booked or drop-in basis.

Tasks

  • Helping customers with their family history research using online, microfilm and paper-based resources
  • Helping customers develop their own research skills

Skills and experience

  • Friendly and patient with the ability to be sensitive to the issues raised when researching family history
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • An interest and knowledge in various family history sites including Ancestry and Find My Past
  • Ability to use computers and the Internet competently
  • Good overview of family history, not just websites but an understanding of the other resources available
  • Understanding of current issues in family history – being aware of new developments
  • Reliable and punctual timekeeping
  • Some experience working with the public an advantage

Other information

  • We will train you
  • The minimum age for this role is 16 years

4. Rhymetime and storytime volunteers

Summary

Rhymetimes and storytimes are for babies, toddlers and their parents or carers. The volunteers will lead the rhymetimes and storytimes, greeting parents and children, preparing and performing suitable rhymes and stories. Sessions are normally for 20 to 30 minutes, plus set up and clear up time.

Tasks

  • Leading rhymetimes or storytimes in the library
  • Preparing suitable rhymes and stories
  • Greeting parents and children
  • Organise buggy parking
  • Distribute toys and instruments
  • Singing
  • Reading stories
  • Encouraging parents and carers to use the library

Skills and experience

  • Friendly and patient manner
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Reliable and punctual timekeeping
  • Some experience with children would be an advantage

Other information

  • We will train you

5. Computer buddy volunteers

Summary

Computer buddies support library customers to access and use the Internet and other computer functions, either on a pre-booked or drop-in basis. This role involves excellent interpersonal and communication skills and a willingness to learn new skills.

Tasks

  • Helping customers access online information
  • Helping customers complete online forms
  • Troubleshooting issues with Microsoft Office
  • Helping customers develop their digital confidence
  • Using Learn My Way with customers. Learn My Way is a website of free online courses for beginners, helping to develop digital skills

Skills and experience

  • Customer focus
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Friendly and patient manner
  • Familiarity with using the Internet, email and basic web searching
  • Reliable and punctual timekeeping
  • Desire to learn

Other information

  • Some training given
  • Opportunity to support a group of basic IT learners to access Learn My Way over a set period of sessions
  • Opportunity to help customers with smartphones and tablets
  • The minimum age for this role is 16 years

6. Home library service volunteers

Summary

Home library service volunteers choose and deliver library materials to one or more library customers at home who have mobility difficulties or caring responsibilities that prevent them regularly visiting a library.

Tasks

  • Choosing library materials for the customer, taking into account their personal preferences
  • Call customer every two weeks to check in. You can give your phone number to your client (that is your choice) so they can contact you when they need new books. However the customer may well be a vulnerable adult who may not be assertive enough contact you, the responsibility lies with the HLS volunteer to maintain regular contact with the housebound customer (this should be on average every fortnight)
  • Delivering the materials to the customer’s home, at a mutually agreed time and frequency, usually once a month minimum
  • Returning materials to the library
  • Reserve items for customers either in the library or via the website

Skills and experience

  • Friendly and patient manner
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to choose books and audio materials according to another’s preferences
  • Reliable and punctual timekeeping
  • Some experience working with the public an advantage

Other information

  • We will train you
  • If you use your car while volunteering for us, we pay mileage. Travel expenses of mileage costs at 45p a mile for travel away from your normal volunteering base will be refunded via a Volunteer Claim Form with receipts. Your car insurance needs to cover your volunteering activity.
  • Telephone expenses will also be refunded via a Volunteer Claim Form (if you do not have a free calls package). An itemised bill is required for this.
  • A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is required for this role
  • Library Volunteer badge given
  • You will have a named library contact and opportunities to meet with other library volunteers
  • The minimum age for role is 16 years

7. Summer Reading Challenge volunteer

Summary

The Summer Reading Challenge encourages children aged 4 to 12 to read six books during the summer holiday.

Working in the library the Summer Reading Challenge volunteer enrols children in the challenge and hands out reading rewards per book read.

Tasks

  • Helping children with online registration when required
  • Handing out reading rewards
  • Talking to children aged 4–12 years and their parents/guardians about books and reading
  • Motivating and encouraging children to complete the challenge
  • Helping to collate statistics at the end of the challenge

Skills required

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • A friendly and patient manner
  • Customer focus
  • Basic Literacy
  • Outgoing and confident
  • Ability to record information accurately
  • Reliable and punctual

Other notes

  • Training given
  • Minimum age for this role 13 years

8. IT for You volunteer trainer

IT for You trainers enable customers to improve their IT skills so that they can better access services, support and employment opportunities. You will tutor customers on how to access and use the Internet and other computer functions, either on a pre-booked or drop-in basis, in one to one and group training sessions. This role requires excellent interpersonal and communication skills and a willingness to learn new skills. You will receive full training.

Tasks

  • Helping customers set up and learn to use email accounts
  • Helping customers learn how to access online information
  • Helping customers learn how to complete online forms
  • Helping customers develop their digital confidence
  • Helping customers use specific online resources relevant to their requirements including ‘My Work Search’
  • Completing a small amount of paperwork for our project partners

Skills and experience

  • Customer focus
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Friendly and patient manner
  • Familiarity with using the Internet, email and basic web searching
  • Reliable and punctual timekeeping
  • Desire to learn

Other information

  • Training provided on specific online resources and on how to lead group training sessions.
  • The minimum age for this role is 18 years.

9. Code Club volunteer mentor

Summary

To inspire 9–11 year olds to get excited about computer science and digital making by running Code Clubs in a library setting.

Tasks

  • Prepare for the Code Club session each week. This may include organising resources and completing class projects in advance
  • Be available for 2 hours each week (currently Thursdays) to help with the Code Club session at the library.
  • Be able to commit for at least one school term (approximately 12 weeks)
  • Liaise with library staff regarding health & safety and housekeeping

Skills and experience

  • Calm under pressure
  • A good team worker
  • Computer literate
  • Coding experience desirable
  • Knowledge of Scratch/Python and HTML desirable
  • Desire to learn
  • Able to communicate with children of all abilities
  • Well organised
  • Be able to accept responsibility for conducting a session and work in a team of 2–3 volunteers

Other information

  • Online training provided by Code Club
  • DBS check is required (via Code Club)
  • Minimum age for this role is 16 years old

10. Library customer support volunteer

Tasks

  • Providing a warm welcome to visitors
  • Talking and listening to customers and identifying their needs
  • Offering basic orientation, help and information to all visitors
  • Signposting visitors to appropriate services or members of staff when necessary
  • Remaining vigilant and reporting concerns where necessary.
  • Keeping leaflet stands and visitor information tidy and up to date
  • Assisting customers with self-service
  • Helping customers to use the photocopier
  • Guiding people to the facilities (e.g. toilets).
  • Assisting with setting up of events or activities and handing out surveys as required

Skills and experience

  • Friendly and patient manner
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Reliable and punctual timekeeping
  • Some experience working with the public an advantage
  • The ability to work as part of a team
  • The ability to use own initiative where necessary

Other information

  • Training given
  • Minimum 3 hour shift per week
  • Minimum age for this role is 16 years