Volunteering at Maindee Library - can you help?
21/09/2016 | Development & Building, Community, Library
Over the 11 months since re-opening Llyfrgell Maindee Library+ has so far seen 50 people giving up their free time to help continue the library service and a further 27 people have shown interest.
In this article volunteer Kim Lambert explains what volunteers do and why we are always looking for new people to come forward.
The invaluable role of volunteers
The library was re-opened and run by volunteers on October 31st 2015. The weekly rota currently has approximately 20 volunteers who carryout many duties in order to keep the library running for community use. This includes a qualified librarian, an admin support person and a cleaner.
Across the summer and holiday period of 2016 (June to August) volunteers have provided an average of 85 hours of work: Wednesday to Friday from 10am until 5pm and Saturdays from 10am until 1pm.
What library volunteers do
The volunteer library assistant’s role is varied, although there is no monetary incentive. Each volunteer is expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner as there are health and safety requirements to consider, as well as the need to provide a service to the public, such as:
- help library users to find the information they need
- check materials in and out
- file or replace returned items
- deal with enquiries by telephone or email
- catalogue new materials
- maintain databases and records
- arrange the repair of damaged materials
Creative activities provided by volunteers
The volunteers are encouraged to work to their strengths to provide extra services to the community. For example, several provide craft sessions for children during the school holidays. There are drop-in sessions on a Saturday morning: a maths homework club is provided by a fully qualified teacher for children of a primary school age and an ESOL drop in session allows speakers of other languages to partake in conversational skills to improve their confidence and encourage community integration.
There are several young volunteers who have given their time as an extra-curricular activity and sixth form students who have volunteered as part of their Duke of Edinburgh award. The library has also been able to work in partnership with the DWP’s Working Links programme to provide work placements for two local people; to help further their skills and gain confidence to seek paid employment. We are always interested if other organisations have people looking for work placements.
Library volunteers are integral to keep the service running as well providing a social outlet for those who are looking to improve their skills, are retired but require light duties and little responsibility or simply have a little free time and feel passionate about books and their local library.
And our volunteers are getting recognised for their work...
Kim (below left) was recently short-listed for GAVO's Newport volunteer of the year award. Next month we found out whether she has won.
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