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Library Volunteers

Thank you for your interest in becoming a volunteer. Without the help of volunteers, the Home Library Service would not exist.

Please read the FAQs below to find out more about how you can apply and what you will be doing. 

What is a Home Library Service Volunteer?

As a Home Library Service volunteer you’ll be selecting and delivering books to people who are severely restricted in their ability to leave their own home.  You’ll be a lifeline in preserving the reader’s link with the library and their love of books. In some cases you’ll also be one of the reader’s much diminished number of social contacts and one of their greatly appreciated links to the wider world.

How does the Home Library Service work?

The Home Library Service Coordinator will match volunteers with readers.  Please see here for more information about the role.

Volunteers visit their local library at times arranged between the reader and the volunteer. Volunteers collect items from the library and deliver them to their readers. These are issued on a ticket which is given to the volunteers. On delivery, the previous items are collected and returned to the library.

Opportuntities for Volunteering in your Library

  • IT Guide - supporting the public to use IT within our libraries
  • Children's Volunteer - through storytime, rhymetime, craft sessions, summer reading, lego club and many more
  • Stock Volunteer - looking after books, returning stock to shelves etc

Who can volunteer?

Anyone can apply to be a Home Library Service volunteer. Please visit the Volunteer Centre Bath & North East Somerset website or download the application form under 'Documents' on the right. You will need to fill in the application form, and give the names of two referees. Once the references are received, the volunteer co-ordinator will invite you for an informal interview. Your details will be sent off for a Disclosure & Barring Service check.

This role will suit you if:

  • You are a lover of books and like to talk about them.
  • You are enthusiastic about libraries and understand the personal impact of not being able to access them.
  • You enjoy talking to others in a social context.
  • You are concerned about the social isolation of some housebound people.
  • You have a few hours a month to make a positive difference to other people’s lives.

Can I claim any expenses as a volunteer?

Reasonable mileage and parking expenses can be claimed using the expenses forms from the volunteer co-ordinator. There is also a mileage claim for bicycles. For current rates please ask the Volunteer Co-ordinator, email or call 01225 395061. 

Library Volunteers Expenses Claim Form (PDF 223 KB)

Library Volunteers Expenses Claim Form (Word 244 KB)

Can volunteers request items for readers?

Readers are encouraged to request as many specific titles as possible for free. You can place reservations in the normal way at any library or online.

What the library service expects from volunteers:

  • To collect and deliver books to your reader (this is often monthly but could be slightly more frequently or less often, depending on the requirements of the reader). Visits will be at a mutually convenient time.
  • To select appropriate material for each reader.
  • To request specific items from the library if required by the reader.
  • To respect the confidentiality of their readers and not to compromise their safety.
  • To claim mileage payments regularly.
  • To ensure that you car insurance covers the volunteering role.
  • To co-operate with Health & Safety and Equal Opportunity requirements.
  • To wear Bath & North East Somerset identification badge on all visits to housebound clients.
  • To inform the volunteer co-ordinator if you have any concerns about the tasks involved with the Home Library Service.

What volunteers can expect from the library service:

  • To receive a personal introduction to all your readers and a reader profile outlining what sorts of books they like reading and in what format (ordinary print / large print / audio).
  • To provide assistance in selecting material if required.
  • To maintain volunteer and reader records at the library. A print out of all items on loan is always available on request. 
  • The facility to check loans, and to make reservations and renewals online is available by using the borrower number and PIN number.
  • The facility to use any B&NES library to borrow items (although this may need the reader’s card details to be copied to your chosen libraries in advance).
  • To provide relief volunteers when necessary.
  • To organise an opportunity for all volunteers to get together at least once a year. 
  • You can claim expenses.
  • Induction including guidance around personal safety, equalities, data protection, health & safety and confidentiality.
  • Access to on-going training as required to support the role.
  • Support for volunteers in their role and point of contact should the volunteer have any concerns relevant to their role.
  • Please note: All the library requires the volunteer to do relates directly to the provision of a library service to housebound people. Any further activities carried out by volunteers for their readers is their sole responsibility. The library service can take no responsibility for this.

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