Volunteering with Milton Keynes Libraries

Libraries in Milton Keynes receive almost 1,120,000 visits every year and visitors borrow a staggering 1,393,000 million items – that’s nearly 27,000 in an average week.
We are currently seeking the following volunteers (term time only):
- Code Club Volunteers at Central Library (Fridays 3.45-5.30)
- Children's Hour Volunteers at Kingston Library (Thursdays 9.30-11.30) and Central Library (Tuesdays 9.30-11.30).

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, 73KB) and hand it in at any library.

Please note that you will need to provide full details of two personal references (these cannot be relatives) and you should have this information ready before starting the application form. The minimum age to volunteer with us is 13 years old.

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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.
  • Storytime Helpers - to assist library staff with storytimes and rhymetimes in the Children's Library.
  • 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 Volunteer Coordinator 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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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 Summary

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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Greeter/Floorwalker - Role Summary

Role title: Volunteer Library Greeter

Responsible to: Senior Library Assistant

Role Purpose:

To provide a friendly, courteous and efficient service to everyone who visits the library. Helping customers to access the library facilities including self-service and photocopier machines.

Details:

  • Volunteers should have an interest in libraries;
  • The duties of a Volunteer Library Greeter will involve being on your feet for long periods of time, as well as pushing trolleys, therefore a good standard of fitness, mobility and stamina is required;
  • You are required to have good communication skills and to be numerate;
  • You must be confident in using self-service machines and photocopiers – training will be given;
  • This voluntary post would suit someone who enjoys meeting and helping people. You should be able to talk to all library customers;
  • You may be working under pressure at busy times, particularly during the school holidays and at weekends;
  • Applicants will be asked to undertake a short test on a self-service machine.

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

  • Meet and greet library customers;
  • Demonstrating to library customers how to use the self-service machines and photocopiers.
  • Showing customers the layout of the library;
  • Directional enquiries;
  • Referring customers who need further assistance to relevant library staff;
  • Emptying self-service machines and loading books onto trolleys;
  • Sorting trolleys of books in the foyer;
  • 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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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:

The library service 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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Business Advice/Support - Role Summary

Role Title: Business Advice/Support

Responsible to: Senior member of library staff on duty

Role Purpose:

  • To support library customers with basic advice in starting and running a business.
  • To provide tutorials, preferably one to one basis, and help with basic business advice and knowledge.
  • To use relevant library resources.

Details:

Volunteers should have an interest in libraries. Their duties will involve assisting customers with basic enquiries and provide basic advice in starting and running a business.  Good customer care is required.  Experience of teaching/instructing/guiding is desirable but training and assistance will be provided.

After appropriate training the duties will be:

  • assisting with customer with basic advice in starting and running a business;
  • dealing with enquiries on writing up a business plan, looking for funding, checking the marketing strategy etc;
  • sharing business networking experience and knowledge of local business organisations.

Skills required:

  • knowledge of free business and company resources
  • IT skills
  • teaching/instruction skills
  • customer care skills
  • communication skills

Training available:

  • induction

Other Requirements:

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

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Mobile Library Champion - Role Summary

Role Title: Volunteer Mobile Library Champion

Responsible to: Mobile Library Assistant

Role Purpose:

To provide a friendly, courteous and efficient service to everyone who visits the Mobile Library and to help customers access the services the Mobile Library provides. To promote the Mobile Library service in the community which would involve taking posters and leaflets and posting them through peoples letterboxes and dropping them in to community facilities.

Details:

Volunteers should

  • have an interest in libraries;
  • be aware that the duties of a Volunteer Mobile Library Champion will involve being on your feet for long periods of time and therefore a good standard of fitness, mobility and stamina is required;
  • have good communication skills;
  • enjoy meeting and helping people;
  • be confident and able to mix well with a wide range of people, of different ages and walks of life. 

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

  • to go out on the Mobile Library with a member of the library staff and assist them in delivering a high quality service to library customers;
  • to meet and greet customers;
  • to promote the service to new customers;
  • to promote the Mobile Library Service to community groups;
  • to leaflet a targeted area of the community within the vicinity of a specific stop;
  • to be able to operate safely under Health and Safety legislation.

Other Requirements:

We would appreciate a commitment of one day a week/fortnight/month (to be negotiated), however this is not mandatory.

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Local Studies Volunteer - Role Profile

Role Title: Local Studies Volunteer

Responsible to: Senior member of library staff on duty

Role Purpose:

To assist Local Studies library staff in providing a local studies and family history reference library in Central Milton Keynes Library.

Details:

Volunteers should have an interest in library work and be aware that the duties of a volunteer could include standing, pushing trolleys and reaching up to high shelves.  This requires a good standard of fitness, mobility and stamina. Volunteers are required to have good skills in English and numeracy.

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

  • Sorting and maintaining the cuttings collection;
  • 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.

Volunteers should have an interest in this specific area and be able to carry out their role with minimal supervision. The nature of this role requires individuals who are methodical and careful.

Other Requirements:

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

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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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Children's Library Volunteers and Storytime Helpers - Role Summary

Role Title: Children's Library Volunteer and Storytime Helper

Responsible to: Senior Member of the Library Staff

Role Purpose:

To assist library staff in delivering high quality services to users of the Children’s Library. To provide a friendly courteous and efficient service to everyone who visits the Children’s Library. This will include meeting and greeting library customers and promoting Children’s Library services including the Bookstart Bear club, reading challenges and supporting children’s activities.

Details:

  • Volunteers should have an enthusiasm for children’s books and libraries and the services libraries provide;
  • Have a good rapport with children and their carers;
  • You would have good communication skills and have the confidence to engage with visitors and promote the service;
  • You would support the library staff delivering library activities;
  • The duties will involve being on your feet for periods of time 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 alongside the library staff:

  • To meet and greet visitors to the Children’s Library;
  • To provide basic assistance to customers e.g. library layout, self service;
  • To promote the library membership, Bookstart Bear Club, reading challenges and children’s activities;
  • To support the library staff with activities e.g. giving out pictures to colour;
  • To be able to operate safely under Health and Safety legislation;
  • To adhere to safeguarding guidelines.

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: 16 November 2017