Volunteer stories

People volunteer in our library service for all kinds of reasons, as the following success stories show.

Marion’s story

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"After taking early retirement and moving to Portishead, I wanted to undertake some voluntary work as I had time on my hands. 

"I saw an article in the local paper about the library needing volunteers for the home library service. After attending an open evening for volunteers in Weston, I decided that I would enjoy this role. I had experience caring for elderly and disabled people and felt that this would assist me in this particular voluntary work.

"I currently have four customers including one blind gentleman. The library service provides me with information about the customers, including the genre of books they like to read or listen to. I choose books and audio CDs and visit their homes every three or four weeks.

"My customers say they look forward to my visits. As well as delivering books I always allow time to have a chat. I find it very interesting to learn about their lives and their interests.

"Before I read the newspaper article I had no idea that this volunteering role existed. I am sure that there are people in the community who would benefit from a home volunteers visit but may not be aware of the service. I am glad that I have become involved and I firmly believe that my customers derive great benefit from this facility. 

"I can thoroughly recommend volunteering, you can really make a difference to people’s lives and it is very rewarding."

Ruth's story

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"I decided to volunteer for Story Time and Rhymetime sessions as I had greatly enjoyed attending them with my children and felt I had the time and enthusiasm to help out once my girls went to school.

"At Rhymetimes I assist every few weeks with singing and operating the CD player. I find it rewarding and I know it can be a lifeline to some of the parents and carers attending sessions.

"I enjoyed attending story times with my own children, I find it very rewarding to read to children at story time and would definitely recommend volunteering to anyone with lots of enthusiasm and a passion for reading and children.

"I recommend becoming a volunteer – it’s a lovely positive environment and you can make a difference to children and carers' lives."

Zoe's story

"Volunteering at Portishead and Pill Libraries has helped build my self esteem and make new friends. I am not a local to North Somerset so the initial move to a new area was quite daunting, but staff are very welcoming to both volunteers and library users.

"I have enjoyed my work in helping with Story Time and Rhymetime for preschool children. My favourite event was the Summer Reading Challenge 'Mythical Maze', where children would eagerly come in with their library books, working towards their goal of a gold medal.

"All three events have shown me how valuable libraries are to past, present, and future generations.

"As a volunteer I have always felt like a valued member of the team. We have regular coffee mornings, celebration cards on special occasions and thank you cards (which was a lovely surprise). Communication is always good between managers, co-ordinators and staff members alike. It is important that I feel I can talk to them and to discuss current issues or plan for the future.

"Throughout my time as a volunteer, I have received training and assistance as and when needed. I particularly enjoyed the training day for the Bookstart events, Rhymetime and Story Time. A part of the day was to put together a Story Time plan and to consider the props you would use and the type of rhymes and stories to implement within that session.

"I am now a part-time member of staff at Portishead and Pill Libraries, but I still volunteer on my days off work. I love both roles and would recommend anyone who is considering volunteering to get in touch."

Pam's story

"When I retired I wanted to volunteer and learnt that the library offers a Home Library Service to residents who cannot get to the library themselves.

"In the past 18 months I have helped five library members to get books and audio books. I go to the library and choose books and also reserve titles online from the Libraries West catalogue to get the authors they like. 

"It is a privilege visiting and getting to know these people. My visits give them an extra person calling in and is really appreciated by family members who provide care and cannot always find the time for library visits, or who live too far away to get them books."