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How do I become a volunteer?

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Bedford Borough's Library Link service couldn't operate without volunteers who give up their time to deliver items to people who are unable to leave their homes.

If you like people, enjoy books and have time to spare, we would be glad to hear from you. Volunteers act as a link between the library and the reader by delivering books and other items, which have been pre-selected by library staff. This provides a valued contact with the outside world.


Library Link Services
Volunteer Profile

A Library Link Services Volunteer is responsible to the member of staff organising the Library Link Service. A maximum of one hour is required for a visit to a reader.

Aims:

To provide a regular service to housebound readers who are unable to visit their local library due to ill health, old age or disability.

Main Tasks:

  • To ensure that the books and other library materials, that will have been pre-selected by the library staff, continue to reflect the interests of the housebound reader.
  • To communicate to staff the needs of the housebound reader including requests for information or specific material.
  • To draw the attention of readers to the full range of services offered by Bedfordshire Libraries.
  • To provide the opportunity for social contact with the reader.

Skills and Experience:

A liking for and empathy with elderly and disabled people and a love and knowledge of literature and reading.

Notes:

Note 1
Volunteer staff should be aware that this work can be physically demanding, involving lifting, carrying and using stairs.

Note 2
Bedfordshire Libraries volunteer staff should not become involved in domestic or personal tasks whilst on a library visit.

Note 3
Volunteers will be expected to attend occasional meetings as organised by the Library Service.


Library Link Services
Guidelines for Volunteers

  1. A bundle of library materials for each reader will be ready for collection every fortnight from the library. The items are selected by the staff following a visit to the reader to assess their reading requirements
  2. A notebook is provided for each reader. This should be used to write down any request, likes and dislikes of the reader, such as preferred authors, requirements for large print or spoken word cassettes, plus any other notes about the service. This is important as the volunteer acts as a link between the reader and Bedfordshire Libraries. The more information we receive, the better the service we are able to give. The library keeps computerised records of all items on loan, but volunteers may wish to keep simple records, in the back of the notebook, of loans, returns and items remaining in the house.
  3. Requests will be supplied as soon as possible, although probably not in the next bundle! Please note that we can deal with requests for information on any subject.
  4. On return to the library, please hand in the returned items plus notebook.
  5. From time to time, there may be letters to readers or volunteers, plus other information leaflets which we have been asked to distribute. Please ensure that these are read or delivered.
  6. Volunteers will be invited to attend an occasional meeting. This is an opportunity to meet library staff and other volunteers, and to learn more about the services we are able to offer. Please do try and attend.
  7. If you are unable to undertake a visit for any reason, please inform the library service.
  8. In the event of a reader being unexpectedly absent when a visit is due, please inform the staff so that we can initiate emergency procedures.

Interested in becoming a volunteer?

Simply complete a form and hand it to a member of staff in your local library or contact Library Link Services. Forms are available from your local library or from Library Link.

References will be taken and you will be invited for an informal interview with the Library Link Services Manager.


Page last updated: Page last updated: 10th December 2015