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Volunteering roles in libraries

Introduction

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.


Rhymetime and storytime volunteers

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. 

Rhymetimes and storytimes  are an opportunity to meet other families, sing and enjoy a story. They are also great for children’s’ speech and language development.

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

Homework and Activity Club volunteer

The homework and activity club is for students aged 5 – 11 years from the local community. It has been set up to aid pupils and support families in the completion of homework through library resources and access to the internet, as well offer additional enrichment activities.

Tasks

  • Be available for 2 hours each week to facilitate the Homework and Activity Club
  • Setting up and clearing away after the session
  • Welcoming children as they arrive, making sure that they feel at ease
  • Monitoring the numbers attending sessions
  • Supporting children in finding the resources and information they need, both in the library and on the internet
  • Guiding and supporting children in the completion of their homework
  • Keeping good levels of communication with parents and carers to ensure students needs are being met
  • Liaise with Library Staff regarding health and safety & housekeeping
  • Deliver pre-planned enrichment activities
  • Listen to children read
  • Supporting parents with their children’s learning
  • Read stories to children

Skills and experience

  • Warm, friendly and approachable reception with our customers
  • Ability to engage in a positive way with children views and opinions
  • Have an interest in helping children to achieve and learn new skills
  • Be innovative in your approach and try to make learning fun
  • Have good communication and listening skills
  • Computer Literate
  • Be able to accept responsibility for conducting a session

Other information

  • Training given
  • Minimum age for this role is 16 yrs
  • DBS required

Home library service/Reading Friends volunteers

Home library service /Reading Friends 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 2 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.
  • Chat to your customer about books and other reading materials, using resources from the Reading Agency’s Reading Friends if required

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.

Reading mentor

The Step into Reading project is designed to support those with a low level of reading skill or Dyslexia to follow a structured and guided approach to learning to read.

As a reading mentor you will support emergent readers aged 16 and over by offering mentoring support and the use of one-to-one phonics-based teaching.

The role requires good interpersonal skills and enthusiasm to help support others in a patient and friendly manner.

Tasks

  • To undertake an induction to learn more about the volunteering programme and the needs of readers with Dyslexia/low reading skills
  • To commit to a weekly session of 1 hour with a learner/s to help them to work through the Yes We Can Read workbook
  • To listen to feedback from the learner and encourage them to work at a pace they feel comfortable with
  • To encourage the learner to pursue their reading outside of the session, encouraging them to choose material to read over the week which is suited to their current reading level – library staff may also be able to offer guidance to materials available such as texts aimed at different reading level and later ‘easy reads’.
  • To show the learner additional resources such as reading apps available, where this is identified as a useful tool to practice with

Skills and experience

  • Strong communication skills
  • A willingness to help others to learn to read
  • Patience, good listening skills and a caring nature
  • Prior experience of supporting learners is not essential as the reading workbook presents a pathway for volunteers to help support learners

Other information

  • An induction to the role and initial guidance on using the resources will be given
  • Minimum age for this role is 18 years

Code Club volunteer mentor

To inspire 9 to 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 and 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 to 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

Family history volunteer

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

 


IT for You mentor

IT for You mentors help our customers take their first digital steps or improve existing IT skills so that they can better access services, support, employment and training opportunities and keep in touch with family and friends. You will tutor customers on how to access and use the Internet and other computer functions on a pre-booked basis, in one-to-one mentoring sessions. And you’ll have access to a suite of resources to help you. 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 and complete online forms
  • Helping customers develop their digital confidence and stay safe online
  • Introducing customers to Microsoft Word
  • Enabling customers to download and use the NHS app
  • Helping customers use specific online resources relevant to their requirements

Skills and experience

  • Customer focus
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Friendly and patient manner
  • Ability to empathise with customers who may be lacking in confidence
  • Familiarity with using the Internet, email and basic web searching
  • Reliable and punctual timekeeping
  • Desire to learn

Other information

  • Training provided on specific resources 
  • The minimum age for this role is 18 years

 


Digital Buddy

Digital Buddies help customers to get online and develop digital skills at home. This role is a good option if you would like to deliver digital skills training but prefer to volunteer from home and / or outside of library opening hours.

We currently loan laptops and tablets depending on the needs of the borrower. Many of our customers have missed the opportunity to learn computer skills and will appreciate a friendly, patient approach to get them started.

The support can be provided in various ways such as remote support through Microsoft Teams or Zoom, by phone or face to face support in the customers' home. This role requires excellent interpersonal and communication skills and a willingness to learn new skills.

Tasks

  • Getting people started on using their tablets or laptops
  • Providing remote or face to face support at a mutually agreed time and frequency. Support sessions should last no longer than 45 minutes.
  • 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.
  • Completing a small amount of paperwork for our project partners.

Skills and experience

  • Familiarity with using digital devices. (Computers, internet, email, and basic web searching for which training and support will be provided.)
  • To be able to use some social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter– We will match your skills and interests to the peoples’ needs and there is no expectation that you will be an IT ‘expert’.
  • Customer focus.
  • An ability to communicate clearly and sensitively with vulnerable adults.
  • Friendly and patient manner.
  • Reliable and punctual timekeeping.
  • Desire to learn.

Other information

  • The minimum age for this role is 18 years.
  • Travel and phone expenses will be reimbursed.
  • A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check may be required for this role. We provide this service if you do not already have one.
  • Applicants who have not been vaccinated for the Coronavirus will not be allowed to operate in certain situations.
  • You will have a named library contact and opportunities to meet with other library volunteers.

Prefer to work within Libraries? Have you thought about being an IT for You Mentor?


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 (for example, 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

Bookends: the library shop volunteer

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

Summer Reading Challenge volunteer

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 encourages children to enrol in the challenge, and motivates them to continue by giving out rewards for each book read.

Tasks

  • 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

Training will be given.

The minimum age for this role is 13 years.


Reading Friends Group Facilitator

  • Lead group reading activities and facilitate conversation using reading materials as a basis for discussion
  • Make practical arrangements to identify and select suitable materials (books, newspapers, handling objects etc.) which focus on the groups’ interests
  • Prepare the meeting space in advance of each session
  • Lead on various themed activities (e.g. memory boxes, etc.)
  • Help to clean and tidy up following sessions

 Skills and experience

  • A friendly and approachable manner
  • Good communication and listening skills with the ability to build rapport through conversation
  • A patient and sensitive approach and the ability to empathise with people
  • Reliable and trustworthy
  • A love of reading and the desire to share this with others
  • The confidence to read to others
  • An understanding of the need for confidentiality
  • Initiative and the ability to work without supervision

 Other information

  • Weekly sessions run for approximately 2 hours
  • Two references will be required

 


'English as an Additional Language' support volunteer

'English at the Library' helps participants to improve their English skills whilst developing a working knowledge of library resources, both off and on-line.

In addition, participants will develop a working knowledge of local services and amenities. The content will be determined by need as identified by the participants.

 This role requires excellent interpersonal and communication skills, and an openness to the experience of being recently arrived in the UK. You will receive training in communicating with people with English as an additional Language (EAL).

Tasks

  • Provide opportunities for participants to develop their English skills
  • Help participants become active members of the library
  • Facilitate access to relevant library services off and on-line
  • Facilitate access to relevant local services and amenities
  • Share understanding of participants’ progress.

 Skills and experience

  • Participant focused
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Readiness to be flexible and responsive to a wide diversity of needs
  • Desire to empower participants towards autonomous citizenship
  • Willingness to develop a working knowledge of library resources available both off and on-line
  • Willingness to develop a working knowledge of relevant local services and amenities
  • Commitment and punctuality

 Other information

  • You will develop a working knowledge of how to connect and communicate with someone whose first language is not English.
  • The minimum age for this role is 18 years.