Volunteering with Milton Keynes Libraries

Libraries in Milton Keynes receive around 700,000 visits every year and visitors borrow in excess of 760,000 items – that’s about 15,000 in an average week.

If you love your library and would like to show support, please consider a donation.

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We're currently seeking a volunteer to help with Children's Hours at Kingston Library on Thursday mornings 9.45-11.15am (term time only). If you're interested, please speak to a member of staff or fill in the online application form.

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 the strictest confidence. If your application is unsuccessful or when you stop volunteering with us your information will be deleted. 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:

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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Volunteers will be given training and guidance to provide high quality frontline services to library users. In return we're looking for a regular and reliable commitment from our volunteers.

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

Milton Keynes Council expects employees and volunteers to take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of any child or adult using our services.

Any person responsible for or working with children or vulnerable adults (whether paid or unpaid) is considered both legally and morally, to owe them a duty of care. This includes behaving in a manner that doesn't threaten, harm or put people at risk from others. All employees working for or on behalf of the Council must 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 help library staff provide high quality frontline services to library users. This includes meeting and greeting visitors to the library, accurately shelving library stock and supporting customers when in the library.

Details:

Volunteers should have an interest in library work. Duties of a Library Support Volunteer 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.

We expect 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;
  • Keeping the stock in order;
  • Keeping the library and stock tidy;
  • Operating safely under Health and Safety legislation.

Other Requirements:

We would appreciate a commitment of at least two hours each week.

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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's accessible for customers, and to assist in the tidying of library stock.

Details:

Volunteers should have an interest in library work. Duties of a Library Shelver Volunteer include standing, pushing trolleys and reaching up to high shelves. This requires a good standard of fitness, mobility and stamina.  

We expect that after appropriate training, the volunteer will be able to carry out the role with minimum supervision, including:

  • shelving returned stock;
  • keeping the stock in order;
  • keeping the library and stock tidy;
  • Operating safely under Health and Safety legislation.

Other Requirements:

We would appreciate a commitment of at least two hours each week.

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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 (English for Speakers of Other Languages) visitors.
  • To work with other volunteers to plan and guide the conversation session.
  • To help group members improve their confidence speaking English and encourage them to join in.
  • To help the group share cultural interests and arrange activities accordingly.

This role will help group members with their English and help 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 every two weeks;
  • preferably have experience of teaching and instructing (not essential);
  • be friendly, enthusiastic and good at speaking with a diverse range of people;
  • be a team player;
  • be diplomatic and constructive when dealing with any differences of opinion which may arise.

Training:

  • Induction including health and safety.

Other Requirements:   

We would appreciate a commitment of at least two hours each fortnight as the club meets on alternative Thursdays.

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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 them to get online.
  • To provide tutorials 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;
  • help with customer IT enquiries. Things like setting up an email address, using social media, searching and applying for jobs online, finding online government and council information and guiding users through online shopping;
  • provide good customer care;
  • preferably have experience of teaching, instructing or guiding - although training and help will be provided;
  • have good communication skills.

Other Requirements:   

We would appreciate a commitment of at least two hours each week.

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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 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;
  • 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 like Scratch;
  • preferably (not essential) have experience of teaching or instructing - but training and help will be provided;
  • be responsible 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 for delivery to elderly, disabled and housebound people who are unable to visit the library.

Details: Volunteers should:

  • be reliable and have a love of books and reading;
  • assess the reading history of customers and choose reading material to interest the customer;
  • listen to feedback from customers about the books provided and adjust future choices accordingly;
  • have a good standard of fitness, mobility and stamina to handle the books.

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. This role requires a DBS check.

Details: Volunteers should:

  • be reliable, personable and friendly individuals with good listening skills;
  • preferably have some experience of working with vulnerable adults;
  • have a current driving licence and their own vehicle;
  • be able to cover a regular route delivering books to 4 or 5 housebound customers every fortnight or monthly (details to be agreed);
  • collect prepared bundles of books from the library for delivery and return used books to the library;
  • have a good standard of fitness, mobility and stamina to do light lifting and handle the books;
  • act as a link between the customer and the library so good communication skills are important;
  • listen to feedback from customers about the books provided and feed back to library staff;
  • enjoy meeting people and have a love of books;
  • have their own motor insurance although all volunteers are covered by Milton Keynes Council’s Insurance.

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 help library staff provide Lego/Duplo Clubs for library users. This includes setting out the area with Lego boxes and tidying up at the end of the session, supervising the activities and interacting with library users.

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.

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 term time 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 Group Coordinator - Role Summary

Role Title: Volunteer Friends Group Coordinator

Responsible to: Library Staff and Volunteer Officer

Role Purpose:

To provide a link between Friends Groups in any of the nine Milton Keynes Libraries and the Library managers.

Details:

  • Volunteers should have an interest in libraries;
  • The Friends Group Coordinator would need good organisational skills and a strong commitment to community involvement;
  • Volunteers should have good communication skills, be numerate and have basic IT skills (like 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.

You can learn more about our Friends Groups by visiting the Friends Groups web 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 and parish records(prior knowledge would be useful).

Details:

  • Volunteers should have an interest in libraries and genealogy.
  • Duties will involve helping customers with family history enquiries and providing basic tuition using the Ancestry and FindMyPast websites.
  • Good customer care is required.
  • Experience of teaching/instructing is desirable but training and help will be provided. 
  • After appropriate training, duties will extend to 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.

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Duke of Edinburgh Volunteers

There is no formal application process for Duke of Edinburgh placements and each library decides if they can accommodate you. We're always happy to 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 help you. They'll be able to tell you if they have any possible openings and dates. If you're interested in opportunities at Central Library, you can email the Children's Library or telephone 01908 254050.

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Volunteer Strategy

This Volunteer Strategy describes the arrangement between Milton Keynes Libraries and volunteers. It's meant to let volunteers know that we appreciate them and intend to make the experience enjoyable and rewarding. 

There are nine Milton Keynes Libraries and 92% of households live within two miles of a library. Libraries 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 library services 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 on the library website, social media, posters and in response to personal enquiries.
  • Applicants are 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 criteria will be invited for an interview. A simple test may be required and there will be a trial period of six weeks.

2. Induction and Training

  • Volunteers will be given information and training 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 with whom they can discuss their volunteering and any successes or 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 aims to provide an annual event in 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 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 insurance to cover volunteers while they undertake approved and authorised voluntary tasks. However volunteers will be responsible for ensuring 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 on behalf of its customers.

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Last Updated: 26 March 2020