People are being given the opportunity to try volunteering in their local library as part of a new campaign.
The new roles are available in all Staffordshire libraries and are designed to help people explore their own interests whilst making a difference in their community. In return for helping for a minimum of just two hours a week, volunteers will have the opportunity to meet new people and learn new skills whilst helping the community to get the most out of their library.
Volunteers already play an important role in Staffordshire’s 43 libraries – helping and advising customers, organising books and resources and helping out with reading groups, Bounce and Rhyme sessions for children, ‘Knit and Natter’ groups and job search activities. A team of volunteer IT Buddies also play a vital role in most libraries showing people how to access the latest technology, computers and the Internet.
Ben Adams, Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills at Staffordshire County Council said, “Libraries play a vital role within local communities and we’ve been working hard to make sure our library service is sustainable and offers people the services they need.
“Whether people want to just get a bit more involved, or volunteer in a more formal way we would love to hear from them. People don’t have to make a formal application – just express an interest to have a chat with a volunteer co-ordinator to see if the role will suit them.”
Hannah Collett, aged 22 is one volunteer who explained that volunteering in the library has really helped increase her confidence and has given her some good experience to put on her CV. Hannah said, “I love volunteering in the library and have met some really nice people. It’s a great place to volunteer as you get to do a wide range of duties as well as learning new skills. Every day is different and you get to meet all kinds of people.”
John Clarke, aged 71 is another library volunteer and said, “After taking early retirement I wanted to do something useful so I became a volunteer at my local library. One of the things I do and really enjoy is choosing books and delivering them to elderly customers and other people who are unable to come into the library for themselves. I sit and chat with them and feel appreciated It is satisfying knowing I’m doing a useful job. Also I have my friends here too who I enjoy having a chat with and have met lots of similarly minded people and made new friends.”
As well as targeting people who want to gain work experience for the job market or want to put their free time, skills and experience to good use, the campaign is also asking people to try library volunteering, to see if it is for them.
Ben added, “Volunteering is also important too for the people that take part in it and getting involved offers different things to different people. For some, this is the opportunity to learn new skills, build confidence and move closer to the jobs market, for others it can be a route to improved health and wellbeing or meeting others, and for many it is the simple pleasure and satisfaction gained from helping people or ‘putting something back’.
“We’re also delighted that we’ll soon be launching the ‘Volunteering Speaks Volumes’ accreditation programme that will offer our volunteers the opportunity to put a shine on their CV by earning a formal qualification.”
People can express an interest in volunteering through the website, at their local library, by calling 01785 278311 or by email.