The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was started seven decades ago and encourages and inspires young people aged 14 – 24 through volunteering, physical activities, life skills and expeditions. There are three levels of award, Bronze, Silver and Gold, and libraries can support young people in completing the volunteering part of each level.
- Bronze, for those aged 14+, 3 months of volunteering
- Silver, for those aged 15+, 6 months of volunteering
- Gold, for those aged 16+, 12 months of volunteering
For full information about the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, visit https://www.dofe.org/
Libraries offer short term placements for young people working towards their Bronze or Silver DofE awards. (Anyone working towards their Gold award should contact the Library Volunteering Team as one of our core roles may be more suitable). While volunteering, young people will help with the daily tasks which are vital to the running of a library and gain experience of customer service. Tasks could include helping customers to use the self-service machines and library computers; helping with events and activities; keeping the library tidy and attractive; carrying out routine library tasks such as shelving and stock rotation; helping customers find what they are looking for in the library. DofE volunteers gain a real understanding of the library service and how it is a vital part of a community.
If you are interested and would like to find out more, please contact your local library who will let you know whether they are currently able to support a DofE volunteer. Details of all North Somerset libraries can be found here
Libraries are encouraging people to try 1 thing during Get Online week, 15 to 21 October 2018. Our IT buddy volunteers hold regular sessions to help people get online and improve their digital skills. During Get Online week they will be supporting and encouraging people to try out more things online. Giving just one new thing a go – whether that’s sending their first email, making their first video call or setting up internet banking – will open up the digital world and lead to great things.
Want to try 1 thing during Get Online Week? Try out the new library e-books and library e-audio services, free to use with a membership card from any LibrariesWest authority. It’s easy to read books or listen to books on the go.
September saw the end of the annual Summer Reading Challenge. This year, The Reading Agency and libraries teamed up with Beano to encourage children to read 6 books over the summer holidays, while celebrating the 80th anniversary of Beano comic. In North Somerset libraries 3246 children signed up for the Challenge and 1883 (58%) completed it, by reading their 6 books and being awarded a medal and certificate.
Volunteers are vital to the running of the Challenge. More people helping means more time and attention for each child as they tell us about the books they have read and enjoyed. This year, 91 volunteers helped to deliver the Challenge and huge thanks go to each and every one of them. The photos below give a taste of the fun that was had over the summer.
The Summer Reading Challenge runs every year from June to September and volunteers can register their interest from April onwards. Sign up to receive blog notifications and you’ll be notified when applications for this role are open. In the meantime, why not have a look at our vacancies page and see if there are any other roles that you are interested in.
Todays’ libraries are vibrant, community spaces providing vital information and fun activities for everyone. Below are just some of the activities taking place in libraries across North Somerset during August:
- Adult Colouring Club
- Children’s Code Clubs
- Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) advisory sessions
- Community Connect advice sessions
- Computer Support
- Councillor surgeries
- Credit Union advice sessions
- Family History advice sessions
- Gadget Clubs
- Health Trainers advice sessions
- Job Skills help
- Knitting group
- Lego clubs
- Reading groups
- Scam Awareness, Digital safety and Ways to Bank
- Summer Reading Challenge
- Summer Reading Challenge craft sessions and activities
- Voluntary Action North Somerset (VANS) advice sessions
- Yu-Gi-Oh! teen zone
For more details about these events and to find out when and where they take place, visit the library events calendar
Libraries work with partner organisations to provide some of these sessions. Natwest run the Scam Awareness sessions, while the CAB provide free, confidential advice on a wide range of issues. However, many of the activities above are provided by libraries and wouldn’t be possible without our volunteers. If you are interested in supporting libraries in any of our regular activities, visit our Vacancies page to find out where we are looking for help and sign up to one of our upcoming information sessions to find out more.
Saturday 14 July marked the beginning of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. This year we’ve had over 90 people volunteer to support North Somerset Libraries to deliver this amazing summer holiday challenge. The Volunteering Team have loved getting to meet all of the volunteers at the training sessions. This year the children will be heading to Beano Town for Mischief Makers and hunting for clues to buried treasure. The volunteers will be talking to children aged 4-11 about what they are reading, and giving out stickers, certificates and medals as they progress through the challenge. It is a lot of fun, and we hope it will be a rewarding and enjoyable summer for all involved. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered, and good luck this summer!
Carers Week and the Home Library Service
Carers Week is an annual awareness campaign to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the UK’s 6.5 million carers. It takes place from 11 – 17 June 2018 and, during this time, individuals and groups across the UK will work together and organise events to raise awareness of the hard work done by carers across the country.
North Somerset provides a Home Library Service, available to people who cannot get to the library themselves. Most people join the service because their own health prevents them from easily getting to a library. However, the Home Library Service is available to carers as well. If a person’s caring responsibilities prevent them from accessing a library, the Home Library Service is there to help.
Some of our volunteers have told us why they think the Home Library Service is so special.
“In the past 18 months I have helped five library members to get books and audio books. I go to the library to 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 or who live too far away to get them books.” (Pam, Volunteer in Clevedon).
“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/listen to. I choose books/audio CDs and visit their homes every three or four weeks.
My customers look forward to my visits, especially as some are housebound. As well as delivering the books I always allow time to have a chat. I find it very interesting to learn about their lives and interests.
Before I read the newspaper article I had no idea that this volunteering role existed. I am sure there are many people in the community who would benefit for a Home Volunteers visit but may not be aware of this service. I am glad that I have become involved and I firmly believe that my customers derive great benefit from this facility.” (Marion, Volunteer in Portishead)
If you are interested in receiving the Home Library Service, please ring 01934 426 657
If you would like to find out more about becoming a Home Library Service volunteer, please read our role description here and sign up to attend an Open Evening.
Thank you!!!! To all North Somerset Library volunteers.
You have all helped us to deliver a variety of activities in libraries and in the community during the past year and we wanted to say thank you. 284 volunteers have supported North Somerset during the past year and between you, you have contributed 7294 volunteering hours.
You help us to deliver Story & Rhyme times, computer support and Family History sessions. You help make the Summer Reading Challenge such a success and you allow us to reach people in their own homes through the Home Library Service. You support Memories Shared sessions and Gadget Clubs in libraries throughout North Somerset.
All of these things make a huge difference to lives of people who use our library services and they wouldn’t be possible without you so thank you!!!!!