Wiltshire Council’s library service is celebrating its volunteers, who over the course of a decade have made a huge contribution by giving their time and energy to support their local libraries.

Since September 2011, Wiltshire’s Community Library Volunteers have operated all the opening hours in nine of the council’s smallest libraries and supported staff by providing extra volunteer sessions at six slightly larger libraries, ensuring these services remain available for local people to use and enjoy. Over the 10 years, the library volunteers have collectively given 163,679 hours of their time.

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Wiltshire Libraries are taking this opportunity to thank and celebrate the achievement of all the dedicated volunteers who have helped and continue to provide a library space where a warm welcome is guaranteed; people can meet and connect with each other, access information for work and school and, above all, enjoy browsing the shelves for a good book.

Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, cabinet member for Libraries, said: “As a library volunteer myself, I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to support my community and see first-hand the huge value and joy that libraries can bring to all ages.

“If you have a bit of spare time I would definitely recommend looking in to becoming a volunteer – our libraries are particularly looking for volunteers at Box, Downton, Lyneham, Ludgershall, Mere, Purton and Wilton so please do get in touch if you’re interested in the role.”

Since the pandemic and the re-opening of all the smaller libraries at the end of 2021, the Community Library Volunteers have shown what a vital role they play in providing services across Wiltshire, adapting to new ways of working and returning to their role with enthusiasm.

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Derek, Community Library Volunteer at Lyneham Library said: “I often thought, what would it be like on the other side? The side that volunteers, give their time freely and take on responsibility. Well, I found out and it has been one of the most satisfying things I have done. I have made new friends; I realise how valuable our community libraries are and how much they are appreciated. I would encourage anyone who is thinking about volunteering to find out a bit more - and maybe even try it.”

As well as the Community Library Volunteers supporting the smaller libraries, Wiltshire Libraries has a number of other volunteering roles that all provide an opportunity to use skills to assist staff and support customers. Library Support Volunteers help at the larger libraries during busier sessions. The Home Library Service Volunteers choose and deliver books to customers who are unable to leave their homes to visit the library. Other roles on offer include supporting digital sessions to help people improve their IT skills, helping to deliver rhymetimes and assist with the annual children’s Summer Reading Challenge from June to September.

For further information about any of the above roles visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/libraries-volunteering.

To find out about vacancies at individual libraries, please either email libraryenquiries@wiltshire.gov.uk or phone your local library.

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