Volunteering in libraries

Current volunteering opportunities

There are many ways that you can join in and help with library services, ranging from one-off or short term projects, to those requiring a more regular commitment.

You can volunteer to be a Library Direct Home Service volunteer, a Computer buddy or rhymetime or storytime assistant and more. Find out more about current volunteering opportunities in libraries.

Why volunteer?

Surrey libraries welcomes volunteers and greatly values the time and skills that our supporters give. We need you to help us build services which are relevant, innovative and respond to the needs of the local community.

By volunteering with us you can:

  • Share your skills with others
  • Learn new skills and gain valuable work experience
  • Engage in your local community life
  • Make new friends and meet like-minded people
  • Explore new challenges and expand your horizons
  • Enjoy interesting, absorbing and rewarding experiences while helping others
  • Significantly contribute to the work of your library service.

Volunteers' feedback

This is what some of our lovely volunteers have had to say about their experience:

  • "I had a great time!" (Susan - Children's Book Festival volunteer 2011)
  • "I enjoyed the experience and would happily contribute further if opportunity arises." (Ian - Get Online Week 2010 volunteer)
  • "I very much enjoyed myself and hope that I was able to help with at least some of the learners' problems" (Nick - Get Online Week 2010 volunteer)
  • "Excellent, really good fun......" (Amey - Children's Book Festival volunteer 2010)
  • It's so rewarding to enhance their already long list of life experiences with the world of computers, and how a computer can open their eyes to the world through the Internet etc.(Nigel – Computer Buddy Volunteer)
  • My question is does anyone else come out of the library grinning like a Cheshire cat because they have enjoyed themselves? I never thought I would enjoy teaching the older generation to use a computer (Heidi – Computer Buddy Volunteer)

Computer Buddy Interview

A Computer Buddy at Oxted library talks about his experience of helping people use computers, get online and make the most of the internet.

Case study

Sue Ferguson from Bookham is one of the volunteer coordinators as well as doing her regular round of deliveries to housebound clients. Sue is an ex member of library staff who helped manage the Books on Wheels service (now called Library Direct) before she retired in February 2006, after which she immediately became a volunteer.Sue thinks that getting on with people is the main quality needed by a volunteer: "Most of all you need to like people. Book knowledge you can pick up. I enjoy meeting people and I enjoy the satisfaction of providing a service."

One of Sue's clients is Vera Kunz from Capel. Vera is 82 years old and has lived in the village for 63 years. Her nearest child lives in East Sussex. She likes a mixture of books, mainly fiction, and she only reads large print. She doesn't watch much TV. She says of Library Direct: "It's so lovely being able to have different books to read. I've always been a keen reader. I used to use Dorking library when it was a little wooden hut''

Sue visits Vera every five or six weeks. The visits aren't just book deliveries. Vera says "We enjoy a little chat and a cup of tea. It's like a little social call and gives me something to look forward to – it's very quiet here."

As a volunteer coordinator Sue also recruits new volunteers from time to time and accompanies volunteers in her area on first visits to new clients. Again, enjoying meeting new people is important but you need other attributes too: "You need to be good with people and have some organisational skills; you also need to be fairly flexible. It's good to have your own clients as well so you know what it's all about."

Applying to volunteer in a library

If you are interested in volunteering for us please fill in our: Expression of interest form.

Our library staff will contact you shortly to discuss your application and answer any questions you may have.

Some volunteer roles require a CRB check to ensure the protection of vulnerable residents. We will advise you how this process is carried out if necessary.

Any local opportunities will also be advertised in your nearest library.

If you have any questions please contact Enquiries Direct, Surrey Libraries' information service, on 01483 543599 or email: libraries@surreycc.gov.uk.

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  • Updated: 09 Sep 2014
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