Volunteering with Milton Keynes Libraries

Libraries in Milton Keynes receive over 800,000 visits every year and visitors borrow in excess of 840,000 items – that’s about 16,000 in an average week.
We're currently seeking Summer Reading Challenge volunteers aged 13-25 to help over the summer break. Visit the Summer Reading Challenge web page for full information. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for the latest news.
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We're also looking for volunteers:

  • to help our Home Library Service customers by choosing books at Central Library (Mondays 10am-12pm);
  • to help with supervising our Lego Clubs at Central Library (Thursdays 4-5pm) and Westcroft Library (Thursdays 3.30-4.30pm);
  • to help with our Code Club at Central Library (Fridays 4-5.15pm) - term times only.
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You can use the online form to apply to be a volunteer at Milton Keynes Libraries. If you prefer, you can download and print an application form (PDF, 127KB) and hand it in at any library.

The minimum age to volunteer with us is 13 years old.

Any information provided by you in your application form will be held in strictest confidence and will be deleted if your application is unsuccessful or when you stop volunteering with us. You can read the Privacy Statements for Milton Keynes Council and Milton Keynes Libraries on the website. 

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Volunteering

We welcome volunteers at all nine of our Libraries.

There are many interesting opportunities for volunteers within Milton Keynes Libraries and there's bound to be something that suits you.  We have previously recruited for a variety of roles, including:

  • General Library Support to assist library staff in delivering efficient frontline services to library users and supporting customers to use the library facilities.
  • Library Shelver - to shelve library stock accurately and ensure it is easily accessible and assist in the tidying of items we hold in the libraries.
  • IT Buddies - to support our customers with basic computer tuition and help them get online.
  • Home Library Service Volunteers - to visit homebound library users and make regular deliveries and collections.
  • Greeters/Floorwalkers - to greet and help visitors with any general queries, including the use of the self-service kiosks.
  • Duke of Edinburgh Volunteers - a scheme for teenagers, nationally coordinated through schools. Information can be found on the official Duke of Edinburgh's Award website.

If you feel that you have any particular skills to offer Milton Keynes Libraries as a volunteer, we would love to hear about them.

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In order to delivery high quality frontline services to library users, volunteers will undergo training and guidance and in return we are looking for a regular and reliable commitment from our volunteers.

We appreciate your interest in Milton Keynes Libraries and hope that you will complete the Online Application Form. You can expect to hear about an interview within 2-4 weeks, but you can contact the library if you have any queries.

Milton Keynes Council expects all employees and those undertaking voluntary activity to take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of any child or adult involved in any activity or interaction for which they are responsible.

Any person responsible for or working with children or vulnerable adults in any capacity, whether paid or unpaid, is considered both legally and morally, to owe them a duty of care. This includes a duty to behave in a manner that does not threaten, harm or put people at risk of harm from others. All employees working for or on behalf of the Council have a duty to report any child or vulnerable adult protection or welfare concerns.

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General Library Support - Role Summary

Role Title: Library Support Volunteer

Responsible to: Senior member of library staff on duty

Role Purpose:

To assist library staff in delivering high quality frontline services to library users. This will include meeting and greeting visitors to the library, accurately shelving library stock and supporting customers when using the library facilities.

Details:

Volunteers should have an interest in library work and be aware that the duties of a Library Support Volunteer will include standing, pushing trolleys and reaching up to high shelves.  This requires a good standard of fitness, mobility and stamina. You are required to have good skills in English and numeracy. Applicants will be asked to undertake a shelving test.

It is anticipated that after appropriate training, the volunteer will be able to carry out the role with minimum supervision, including:

  • Meeting and greeting  library users;
  • Providing basic assistance to customers, like offering help with self service, photocopiers and library layout. Volunteers confident in IT may choose to help with basic IT queries;
  • Shelving returned stock;
  • Maintaining the stock in the correct order;
  • Ensuring the general tidiness of the library and stock;
  • Being able to operate safely under Health and Safety legislation.

Other Requirements:

We would appreciate a commitment of at least two hours each week however this is not mandatory.

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Library Shelver - Role Summary

Role Title: Volunteer Library Shelver

Responsible to: Senior member of library staff on duty

Role Purpose:

To shelve library stock accurately ensuring it is easily accessible for customers, and to assist in the tidying of Milton Keynes Libraries’ stock.

Details:

Volunteers should have an interest in library work and be aware that the duties of a Volunteer Library Shelver will involve standing, pushing trolleys and reaching up to high shelves and therefore a good standard of fitness, mobility and stamina is required. 

After appropriate guidance the volunteer will be able to carry out the role with minimum supervision:

  • to shelve returned stock;
  • to maintain the stock in the correct order;
  • to ensure the general tidiness of Milton Keynes Libraries’ stock;
  • to be able to operate safely under Health and Safety legislation.

Other Requirements:

We would appreciate a commitment of at least two hours each week, however this is not mandatory.

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English Conversation Group Facilitator - Role Summary

Role Title: English Conversation Group Facilitator

Responsible to: Designated member of staff

Role Purpose:

  • To co-ordinate and lead an informal conversation group of mixed ability ESOL members
  • Working together with other volunteers to plan and deliver the conversation session
  • To help group members improve their confidence in speaking English and encourage them to contribute to discussions
  • To help the group share cultural interests and arrange activities accordingly

This role will help group members with their English and promote integration and understanding of different cultures.

Details: Volunteers should:

  • have an interest in libraries
  • be able to work with library staff to run the club
  • provide good customer care
  • have a good level of spoken English and good communication skills
  • be available for two hours a week
  • preferably (not essential) have experience of teaching and instructing
  • be friendly, enthusiastic and good at relating to a diverse range of people
  • be a team player
  • be able to deal with differences of opinion which may arise in a diplomatic and constructive manner

Training:

  • induction including health and safety

Other Requirements:   

We would appreciate a commitment of at least two hours each week, however this is not mandatory.

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IT Buddy - Role Summary

Role Title: Volunteer IT Buddy

Responsible to: Senior member of library staff on duty

Role Purpose:

  • To support customers with basic tuition and help customers to get online.
  • To provide tutorials, preferably on a one to one basis and offer help on basic IT skills and knowledge.

Details: Volunteers should:

  • have an interest in libraries;
  • be able to offer basic IT tuition and support;
  • use the UK Online website to provide the initial training;
  • assist with customer IT enquiries like setting up an email address, using Facebook, using the Job Search website, online job applications, finding government and council information online and guiding users through online shopping;
  • provide good customer care;
  • preferably have experience of teaching/instructing/guiding but training and assistance will be provided;
  • have good communication skills.

Other Requirements:   

We would appreciate a commitment of at least two hours each week, however this is not mandatory.

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Code Club Volunteer - Role Summary

Role Title: Code Club Volunteer

Responsible to: Designated member of library staff

Role Purpose:

  • To help children use Code Club activity sheets to make games, website and animations.
  • To lead basic computer coding tuition for approximately 20 children aged 8-12 with some support from library staff.

Volunteering with Code Club is a way to develop coding skills and help the local community.

Details: Volunteers should:

  • have an interest in libraries;
  • work with library staff to run the club;
  • be able to offer basic IT support;
  • provide good customer care;
  • have good communication skills;
  • be available for 2 hours each week (currently Friday) to help with the Code Club session at Central Library, but potentially expanding to other community libraries;
  • be able to commit for at least one school term (approximately 12 weeks);
  • be willing to sign up at the official UK Code Club website as a volunteer;
  • undertake training available on the Code Club website;
  • be willing to undertake a DBS check (via Code Club);
  • prepare for the Code Club activities each week;
  • be comfortable using coding languages such as Scratch;
  • preferably (not essential) have experience of teaching or instructing - but training and assistance will be provided;
  • be able to accept responsibility for conducting a session and work in a team of 2-3 volunteers.

Training Available:   

  • Induction
  • Code Club online training
  • Shadowing an existing Code Club volunteer

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Home Library Service Volunteer - Role Summaries

Role Title: Volunteer Home Library Service Picker

Responsible to: Senior member of library staff

Role Purpose:

The Volunteer Home Library Service Picker helps to select books ready to be delivered to elderly, disabled and housebound people who are unable to visit the library themselves.

Details: Volunteers should:

  • Be reliable and have a love of books and reading;
  • Be able to assess reading history of customers and decide on reading material that they think would interest the customer;
  • Be able to listen to feedback from customers about the books provided and apply it to future choices;
  • Duties will involve light lifting and handling of books, therefore a good standard of fitness, mobility and stamina is required.

Other Requirements:

This role is based at Central Library and the volunteer is required every Monday from 10am - 12 noon. 

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Role Title: Volunteer Home Library Service Deliverer

Responsible to: Senior member of library staff

Role Purpose:

The Volunteer Home Library Service deliverer takes and collects library books for elderly, disabled and housebound people who are unable to visit the library themselves.

Details: Volunteers should:

  • Be reliable, personable and friendly individuals with good listening skills;
  • Some experience of working with vulnerable adults is desirable;
  • Volunteers will need a current driving licence and their own vehicle;
  • Volunteers will be given a regular round delivering books to 4/5 housebound customers every fortnight/monthly. Days and times can be agreed;
  • On an agreed day the volunteer would need to come to the Library to pick up prepared bundles of books to deliver. At the same time that they deliver the books they would pick up the previous fortnight’s items for return to the library;
  • Duties will involve light lifting and handling of books, therefore a good standard of fitness, mobility and stamina is required;
  • A volunteer deliverer acts as a link between the customer and the library so good communication skills are important;
  • The volunteer will listen to feedback from customers about the books provided and make sure it is communicated back to library staff;
  • This is an ideal role for someone who enjoys meeting people and has a love of books;
  • All volunteers are covered by Milton Keynes Council’s Insurance policy (though own motor insurance is required).

Other Requirements:

  • Volunteers will need to be available for up to 4 hours a fortnight.
  • Volunteers will need a current driving licence and their own vehicle.
  • Expenses for mileage will be paid and volunteers should ensure that their motor insurance policy covers this activity.

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Lego Club Volunteer - Role Summary

Role Title: Lego Club Volunteer

Responsible to: Senior member of library staff on duty

Role Purpose:

To assist library staff in delivering Lego/Duplo Clubs for library users. This will include setting out the Lego boxes and area, supervising activity during the club, interacting with library users and tidying up/putting away the Lego boxes at the end of the session.

Details:

Volunteers should:

  • have an interest in libraries and interacting with children;
  • have a good standard of fitness, mobility and stamina as the role involves lifting and moving boxes of Lego and possibly rearranging light furniture;
  • be reliable and friendly.

It is anticipated that after appropriate training, the volunteer will be able to carry out the role with minimum supervision, including:

  • setting out the Lego resources and area;
  • meeting and greeting  library users;
  • ensuring the general tidiness of the area during and after the club;.

Other Requirements:

There are two locations for this role:

  • Central Library Lego Club on Thursdays 4-5pm
  • Westcroft Library Lego Club on Thursdays 3.30-4.30pm

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Volunteer Friends Groups Coordinator - Role Summary

Role Title: Volunteer Friends Groups Coordinator

Responsible to: Library Staff and Volunteer Officer

Role Purpose:

To provide a liaison between Friends Groups in any of nine Milton Keynes Libraries and the MK Libraries management.

Details:

  • Volunteers should have an interest in libraries;
  • The duties of a Friends Group Coordinator involve good organisational skills and a strong commitment to community involvement;
  • You are required to have good communication skills, be numerate and also have basic IT skills (email);
  • This voluntary post would suit someone who enjoys meeting people and feels confident dealing with them.

Other Requirements:

We would appreciate a commitment of at least two hours each week, however this is not mandatory.

You can find out more information about our Friends Groups by visiting the Friends Groups page.

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Family History Volunteer - Role Profile

Role Title: Family History Volunteer

Responsible to: Senior member of library staff on duty

Role Purpose:

  • To support customers with family history enquiries and help customers online.
  • To provide tutorials, preferably on a one-to-one basis, and help with family history resources such as Ancestry, FindMyPast, parish records, etc (prior knowledge would be useful).

Details:

Volunteers should have an interest in library work and genealogy. Duties will involve assisting customers with basic family history enquiries and providing basic tuition using Ancestry and FindMyPast websites. Good customer care is required. Experience of teaching/instruction/guiding is desirable but training and assistance will be provided. After appropriate training, duties will include assisting with more detailed customer family history enquiries.

Skills Required:

  • Knowledge of free family history resources
  • Customer care
  • IT skills
  • Teaching/instruction
  • Good communication skills

Training Available:

Other Requirements:

We would appreciate a commitment of at least two hours each week however this is not mandatory.

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Duke of Edinburgh Volunteers

There is not a formal application process for Duke of Edinburgh placements and it is dependent on each individual library as to whether they can accommodate you. We are always happy to try and provide placements if we can, but  there is often a waiting list.

You can contact any of the libraries in Milton Keynes directly to see if they are able to accommodate you and they  will be able to let you know if they have any openings. If you are interested in opportunities at Central Library, you can email Karen Fleming or telephone her on 01908 254067.

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Volunteer Strategy

This Volunteer Strategy describes the arrangement between Milton Keynes Libraries and volunteers. It is meant to assure volunteers of our appreciation and our intention to ensure the experience is enjoyable and rewarding. 

Together, there are nine Milton Keynes Libraries, which means that 92% of households live within two miles of a library. They provide safe, welcoming spaces and aim to improve the quality of life for everyone who lives, works or studies in Milton Keynes. Volunteer roles are created to support the services available and to complement and support, but not replace, paid staff. In line with current legislation both training and attendance is not mandatory for a volunteer role.

1. Recruitment

  • Volunteer roles will be advertised initially on the library website, in response to personal enquiries and by displaying posters in the libraries.
  • Applicants will be asked to complete an application form and will be given information about the role and any simple selection tests which may apply.
  • Proof of eligibility to volunteer will be required.
  • Volunteers meeting the required criteria will be invited for an interview. A simple test may be required and a trial period of six weeks in the post will be discussed.

2. Induction and Training

  • Volunteers will be provided with an induction on the work of Milton Keynes Libraries, its staff, and the volunteer role. The Milton Keynes Libraries Volunteer Handbook provides full details.

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3. Supervision and Support

  • Every volunteer will be assigned a named member of library staff who will meet with them at regular intervals to discuss their volunteering and any successes and problems.
  • Supervising staff will explain the service standards expected and then encourage and support volunteers to achieve and maintain them.

4. Recognition

  • Milton Keynes Libraries recognises the support provided by volunteers and will aim to provide an annual event to show appreciation of this. Library volunteers will be provided with a reference from the service after completing six months.

5. Health and Safety

  • Volunteers will be provided with adequate training in compliance with the library’s health and safety policy, a copy of which is in the Milton Keynes Libraries Volunteer Handbook.

6. Insurance and Expenses

  • The library service will provide adequate insurance to cover volunteers while they undertake approved and authorised voluntary tasks. However volunteers will be responsible for ensuring adequate vehicle insurance cover for voluntary work, if this is required by their insurer.
  • Volunteers will be reimbursed expenses when applicable.

7. Problems

  • Any problems, grievances and difficulties volunteers may have while volunteering in the library service will be resolved as fairly as possible.

8. Confidentiality

  • Volunteers will be bound by the same requirements as paid staff to maintain the confidentiality of information within the organisation and its customers.

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Last Updated: 17 June 2019