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Volunteering in libraries

Volunteering in libraries

We have fulfilling and fun volunteering opportunities in libraries. If you can spare a few hours a month, we would love to hear from you.

Each year we recruit enthusiastic, friendly volunteers to work as part of the team running the Summer Reading Challenge for primary school aged children. You will spend your time helping children to complete the Challenge, talking with them about the books they’ve been reading and helping at a range of fun activities in the library. This is a great opportunity to develop skills in communication, team working and creative projects, whilst having fun and making new friends or working towards a volunteering award. We are looking for volunteers in all libraries. Training will be given. Suitable for age 14+.

South Gloucestershire’s libraries provide free access to computers, the internet, email and online resources and free Wi-Fi access for all members of the public. Library staff assist the public in using our facilities and when requested can signpost to further local help through our colleagues in the Council’s Community Learning Service, and through courses run by South Gloucestershire and Stroud College in many of our libraries. Quite often, especially with those new to IT, a more in-depth one-to-one approach is needed and this is where we see a role for Digital Champions.

We are therefore looking for people who:

  • are competent and confident users of computers, conversant with use of the Internet and email, and are familiar with Microsoft Office software. An ability to manage photos and music downloading, along with an awareness of social networking sites such as Facebook, would also be desirable
  • have knowledge and experience using portable devices (eg iPad, tablets, iPhones)
  • have a general interest in online information sites hosted by the library and an ability to explore these with customers, such as Ancestry and online encyclopaedias
  • demonstrate excellent interpersonal and customer care skills, are comfortable with people of all ages and backgrounds; enjoy helping others and have patience
  • encourage those who are afraid of IT, helping them make the most of the services on offer, particularly encouraging individuals to take advantage of online training resources such as www.learnmyway.com
  • can support those who are applying for jobs, composing CVs, contacting the Council or using sites such as www.gov.uk/jobsearch

Volunteering is available at any time libraries are staffed.

You can be as flexible as you like in the pattern of hours you do, and at times that suit you within these staffed hours.

Volunteers in our Home Library Service visit people who are unable to use their local library because of disability, frailty, or responsibility as a full-time carer. Our housebound customers really value the service, and for some people reading is an essential part of their daily life, particularly for those without digital access.

  • volunteers work with local libraries across South Gloucestershire and deliver a selection of books, information, and other library materials direct to the homes of our members who are housebound in their own home or in residential settings
  • generally, volunteers make monthly visits and use their own cars. A mileage allowance is paid by South Gloucestershire Libraries
  • volunteers first visit a library to collect a bag of books and other libraries materials which have either been selected by staff or by volunteers themselves
  • they deliver the bag to our housebound member’s doorstep; collect a bag of library material they have finished reading and return it to the library for staff to process. (If the reader is unable to pick up the books and bring them into their house, then volunteers put the bag just inside the door (and picks up items to be returned).
  • all Home Library Service volunteers are DBS checked
  • all Home Library Service volunteers are issued with South Gloucestershire Council photographic ID
  • all volunteers are given some training and advice before they start visiting readers
  • volunteers are advised to not enter the homes of housebound customers because this could put volunteers at risk of Coronavirus infection, or risk spreading it to others
  • our housebound members really look forward to their volunteer visits. We expect our volunteers to demonstrate excellent interpersonal and customer care skills; to be comfortable talking to people of all ages and backgrounds; to enjoy helping others and to have patience.

How to apply

Download an application form  and information sheet and return your completed form by email to libraryvolunteers@southglos.gov.uk  or to a library during staffed hours

 

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