Volunteer at our 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.
Summer Reading Challenge volunteers
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+.
Our Digital Champions offer one to one support in our libraries to those who are new to IT. They help support people to learn about using computers, internet and email.
We are looking for people who:
- are competent and confident users of computers, internet and email
- ability to manage photos and music downloading
- awareness of social networking sites such as Facebook
- 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
- encourage those who are afraid of IT, helping them make the most of the services on offer
- encourage individuals to take advantage of online training resources such as Learn My Way
- support those who are applying for jobs, composing CVs, contacting the Council or using sites such as GOV.UK
Home Library Service volunteers
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.
Being a volunteer involves working 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.
You will make monthly visits using your own car (a mileage allowance is paid by South Gloucestershire Libraries)
What is involved
Being a Home Library Service volunteer will require you to:
- visit libraries to collect a bag of books and other library materials which have either been selected by staff or by volunteers themselves
- 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
- be DBS checked
- be issued with South Gloucestershire Council photographic ID
- receive some training and advice before they start visiting readers
- not enter the homes of housebound customers because this could put volunteers at risk of Coronavirus infection, or risk spreading it to others
Skills that are needed
We require our volunteers to demonstrate:
- excellent interpersonal and customer care skills
- you are comfortable talking to people of all ages and backgrounds
- that you enjoy helping others and to have patience
Support and training
Our library staff are here to support you in your voluntary work and help you solve any queries or difficulties you may have.
Training sessions or volunteer meetings are run where necessary, including inductions, safeguarding and health & safety.
How to apply
References and DBS check
References must be supplied by individuals who know you well – but cannot be provided by members of your own family.
Proof of Right to Work documentation will be required for anyone aged 16+, and you may also be required to have an enhanced check by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for certain roles (there is no cost for applicants for DBS checks).
You will be invited for an informal interview at the library which is an ideal opportunity to discuss the type of work involved and any ask questions you may have. If successful we will then take up references and start the DBS process where applicable.
We provide personal insurance to cover accidental injury to volunteers in the course of their work and also injury to third parties and damage to their property.
Home Service volunteers are responsible for arranging their own car insurance cover. If you use your own car, you should inform your insurance company in writing that you wish to use your car for volunteering purposes to deliver library stock to housebound readers.
Driving in a voluntary capacity is then usually covered under your existing policy without any additional charge.
South Gloucestershire Library Service will provide you with supervision, training, and support to make sure that you are safe when volunteering with us. It is important that you understand and follow any information and training you are given. You may be asked to stop being a volunteer if you do not follow this information and training.
Travel expenses from home to a volunteer’s normal place of work (this could be one or a number of libraries) are not normally paid but travel expenses from the library are paid to those delivering the Home Library Service.