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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.


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

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 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.
  • 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.
  • Contact (by phone)  every 2 weeks to check in and maintain regular contact with the housebound customer.

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

  • 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 18 years.

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

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 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

 


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

The Summer Reading Challenge encourages children aged 4 to 11 to read six books during the summer holiday. This role is available mid July - mid September.

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 4–11 years and their parents/guardians about books and reading
  • Motivating and encouraging children to complete 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.


  • 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 Conversation Groups aim to help people who have English as an additional language to gain confidence in their spoken English. Facilitators lead on weekly themes for daily conversations and encourage all participants to take part.

 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

  • Deliver weekly conversation sessions to mixed ability English learners face to face
  • Ensure sessions are fun, interesting and of value by using a wide range of appropriate discussion topics
  • Support individuals to take an active part in group conversations through encouragement and motivation
  • Complete and submit basic weekly attendance records to help monitor and develop the service
  • Help participants become active members of the library

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
  • Commitment and punctuality
  • Good level of spoken English required
  • Non-judgemental, open-minded and friendly with the ability to encourage
  • people from all communities

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