Library volunteer information and application

Thank you for showing an interest in volunteering in the Library Service. We appreciate and value the time and help our volunteers give and the benefit it brings to our customers, staff and the wider community.

Volunteer information

Role and activities

Volunteering could include some of the following. We will discuss with you how best you might support the service and how we might best meet your wishes.

Play a key role in supporting the library service by carrying out some or all of the following essential activities:

  • Ensuring customers and staff are able to find the books and other items they want by:
    • Re-shelving books and other items returned to the library in the correct place
    • Putting books and other items in correct order
  • Making the library attractive and up to date by removing old or unused items from the shelves
  • Preparing and displaying withdrawn books for sale
  • Finding books and other items requested by people in other libraries on the shelves
  • Promoting the library
    • Assisting with mail shots
    • Helping in the promotion of special events

Encouraging the use of libraries by children:

  • Helping to prepare craft activities
  • Helping library staff provide homework sessions
  • Preparing free book packs for young children
  • Assisting with the Summer Reading Challenge and other special promotions.

Share with us the excitement of discovering Southampton’s history and the satisfaction of helping to preserve collections for future generations and making our treasures known to the wider community by:

  • The creation of new resources for people to access on the Internet
  • Ensuring existing resources are accurate and up to date
  • Analysing and recording the contents of books and journals
  • The creation of paper based lists and other guides

Sharing your I.T. skills and experience one to one and giving someone the confidence to use and enjoy computers by:

  • Carrying out one to one sessions with people wishing to get online for the first time
  • Introducing them to online training which will help them to take their skills further

Friends of libraries

Friends of libraries groups are independent groups of volunteers who support and promote their local library through various activities, such as:

  • Fund raising
  • Encouraging use of library facilities
  • Arranging social and other events
  • Giving ideas for developing the library service and its buildings

Friends function independently of the library service but work in close cooperation with library staff. We need people to join existing Friends groups or help to set up new ones.

Recruitment and selection

  • Recruitment will be according to Southampton City Council’s Equal Opportunities Policy
  • Specific duties, time commitment and the skills required will be explained in detail
  • The Library Service will arrange a DBS check if required on the role volunteer takes
  • Placements will reflect the volunteer’s skills, talents and interests
  • Opportunity will be given to change the volunteering role if necessary
  • A placement will start with a trial period, which will give both you and your supervisor the opportunity to see if they feel comfortable in the role

We will provide volunteers with:

  • An induction to the work of the section, its staff, the volunteering role and training needed to meet the responsibilities of this role
  • A named person who will meet with you regularly to discuss the placement
  • Out of pocket expenses for travel to and from home
  • Appropriate training in council health and safety policies
  • Appropriate insurance cover whilst carrying out approved volunteering roles
  • All staff benefits e.g. discount on video/DVD loans, use of staff room
  • Risk assessment for volunteers

Volunteers will:

  • Be expected to attend any relevant training course(s)
  • Commit to an agreed regular number of hours at times agreed with the Library Service
  • Carry out tasks to the standard identified by the Library Service
  • Display the highest levels of courtesy, conduct and integrity and behaviour
  • Not talk about or publicly disclose any personal, financial or other confidential information relating to the Council, any of its employees, members of the public, other volunteers, the Council’s customers or third party organisations
  • Comply with Library Service Health and Safety Policies and all relevant City Council policies including those on Equal Opportunities and Data Protection
  • Call the supervisor as soon as possible if unable to attend due to sickness
  • Notify the Supervisor in advance if unable to attend any agreed periods
  • The Supervisor should be notified in advance if you wish to increase or decrease your level of voluntary activity

The information above applies to volunteering in Southampton Central Library, Shirley Library, Lordshill Library, Portswood Library, Bitterne Library and Woolston Library. If you are specifically interested in volunteering in Burgess Road library, Millbrook Library, Cobbett Road Hub and Library, Thornhill Community Library and YMCA Weston Community Library, please contact them directly.


Library volunteer application form

You won't be able to save this form to complete later, so please allow yourself ten minutes to fill in the form.

Apply to be a library volunteer