The challenge for library volunteers

In the recent community managed library meetings a job description was circulated. This detailed the main responsibilities of a library volunteer. It was an impressive list of duties, and though I doubt it was created to dissuade potential volunteers I could imagine that this would be its effect.

The list that follows is not a reproduction of the job description, but rather my re-wording. I have done this because, to be frank, my version properly underscores just how many facets there are to these roles.

• Customer care
• Use of ELAN computer system
• Use of other computer systems
• Clerical duties
• Dealing with inquiries
• Update information files
• Update reference material
• Dealing with income
• Putting returned materials back on the shelves
• Oversee use of equipment (photocopiers, fax machine, etc)
• Ensure copyright declaration forms are completed
• Dealing with post
• Statistical returns
• Preparing displays
• Preparing outreach activities
• Stock duties (ordering, maintenance, etc)

Each heading represents a plethora of challenges. I think this demonstrates just how difficult life will be for those libraries that have no full-time staff present. Whilst assurances have been made about training, my inquiries about oversight and management did not uncover anything that consoles me.


8 Responses to The challenge for library volunteers

  1. I think it will shortly start to sink in with the public that the Tories (and Lib Dems) haven’t “saved” these libraries, but instead are killing them through willful neglect.

    The cultural vandalism in these library cuts is breathtaking.

  2. dave batter says:

    This was brought up at the meeting at the Westborough library, volunteers do not need to posses all those skills just some of them

  3. Which, if true, poses an even bigger problem because if these skills are to be shared then you either have to ensure that enough staff are present to cover all areas, or concede that some facilities will not always be available.

  4. Pingback: Libraries News Round-up: 26th February 2014 | The Library Campaign

  5. David Glover. Secretary. RAW 2012. says:

    Data Protection is a very important issue.
    In 2011 several RAW members decided to specifically breach Data Protection Rules.
    In 2011 said individuals and their supporters chose to ignore our legal advice concerning the Data Protection Act 1988.
    Accordingly we were forced to expel all eight individuals from RAW.

    Libraries should be run by paid librarians.
    Libraries should not be run by Scabs!

  6. Brensa Smith. Chairman. RAW 2012. says:

    Will these volunteers be assessed for suitability for working with children and vulnerable adults?
    Will these volunteers be assessed for competence?
    Will these volunteers be CRB checked?

    Checks and training cost money!

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