PEOPLE are being reminded about the many volunteering opportunities available in their local library as part of a new campaign.
Over 800 regular volunteers already play an important role in Staffordshire’s 43 libraries, all making a real difference in their community while helping them explore their own interests.
Volunteers help with a wide range of duties from organising books and resources, dealing with customers, and helping out with reading groups, Bounce and Rhyme sessions for children, ‘Knit and Natter’ groups and job search activities. A team of volunteer IT Buddies also play a vital role in most libraries showing people how to access the latest technology, smart devices, computers and the Internet.
Gill Heath, Cabinet Member responsible for libraries at Staffordshire County Council said: “Our libraries continue to play a vital role within local communities and with our many volunteers and lots of different activities we’re having a real impact on the lives of local people.
“The start of the New Year is also a brilliant time for people thinking about volunteering to actually have a go. Not only does volunteering make a huge difference in local communities but it can also be great for the people that take part.
“Being a volunteer offers different things to different people. For some, this is the opportunity to learn new skills, build confidence and move closer to the jobs market, for others it can be a route to improved health and wellbeing or meeting others, and for many it is the simple pleasure and satisfaction gained from helping people or ‘putting something back’.
“Whether you just want to try it out, or volunteer in a more formal way we would love to hear from you.”
Volunteers also play an important role promoting the library in their own local communities, helping raise the profile of events and activities while encouraging more people to visit and use the services.
Library volunteer Sue Hallet runs the Language Café at her local library. Sue said: “I really love volunteering at the library. It’s certainly the most fulfilling thing I’ve done in a long, long time.
“I retired 2 years ago, and I felt invisible and that I didn’t count. I missed the community and I am enjoying being with people who are learning about our community. This has really given me a new lease of life”.
John Clarke, aged 74 from Newcastle-under-Lyme has been volunteering at the library for over 20 years. John, who delivers books to library customers who are housebound, said: “After taking early retirement I wanted to do something useful so I became a volunteer at my local library.
“One of the things I do and really enjoy is choosing books and delivering them to elderly customers and other people who are unable to come into the library for themselves. I sit and chat with them and feel appreciated It is satisfying knowing I’m doing a useful job. Also I have my friends here too who I enjoy having a chat with and have met lots of similarly minded people and made new friends. I would definitely encourage people to try volunteering, you won’t look back.”
Jonathan Richards from Stafford worked in the electronics and computing sector for over 40 years and is now a volunteer at Stafford library running a Code Club for children. Jonathan said: “I’ve always found computing interesting and enjoyable. I’ve seen a great deal of change in the technology and also how it has come to be used in almost every aspect of people’s lives.
“Having retired now, I would like to share my experience, knowledge and enthusiasm with others, which is why I have volunteered for Code Club. Volunteering is great and I’m still learning new skills myself, and my personal projects are currently a lot more fun than serious.”
People can find out more about the many volunteering opportunities in libraries at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/volunteerinyourlibrary.