There are lots of ways to support your local library and the library service across Somerset. Donations of stock or funds, Friends groups, support for events and campaigns and volunteering all help us deliver the best possible range of services.
Volunteers are a vital part of the Somerset Libraries team. They bring their experience, knowledge and skills to help us deliver a wider range of opportunities and activities to Somerset communities. We’re grateful for their time, energy and all they contribute to the service.
There are many ways to get involved and help at your local library.
- Activities Volunteer – support with existing activities such as children’s rhyme times and Lego club or even help to introduce a new activity to your local library.
- Team Support Volunteer – working alongside our library teams to support with the day-to-day library tasks. Activities could range from shelving, processing and displaying stock, and helping the library staff make the library an exciting, vibrant and welcoming environment.
- Digital Volunteer – could you offer IT support? You could help to run clubs, classes, seminars and one-to-one training – offering support with a range of digital technology, websites and programs.
- Summer Reading Challenge Volunteer – encourage children to love reading by helping with the national scheme that takes place each summer across all Somerset Libraries. Volunteers help to sign children up, choose books or run activities during the school summer holidays. Apply during April to June to support this event. Applications close in the last week of June.
- Home Library Service volunteers – select books and audio books, then deliver them to housebound library customers. Run by the Royal Voluntary Service, the Home Library Service helps to provide essential support to housebound individuals who can’t make it to the library.
- Friends groups – you might like to assist with library events and activities, such as National Libraries Day, author visits or special workshops.
Find out more
Talk to staff in your local library about current volunteering opportunities. They will be happy to give you more information about the roles and what they may involve.
To support your library by becoming a Library Volunteer for Somerset County Council, please complete the application form and forward it to the library where you would like to volunteer.
You can find other volunteering opportunities with Somerset County Council by visiting the Council’s volunteering page
We’re happy to accept donated books in good condition. Just drop them in to your local library. We do reserve the right not to stock them if they are in poor condition or there are simply too many of the same title or subject. We may stock them at a different library if that’s more appropriate.
Evidence shows that simply cramming in lots of extra books doesn’t improve the library experience for users. It’s important to have the right books for that library. Books will get withdrawn or moved elsewhere if there’s no local demand for them.
We sell excess stock at many of our libraries and through Friends events, so your donations are very welcome as fundraising items even if we don’t keep them on our shelves.
Money specifically raised to purchase stock at a library will always be used to buy materials for that local library. This won’t replace any central funding we allocate, and will be in addition to the normal budget.
We get an excellent discount for all books, so donations will normally go further than purchasing books to donate. We aim for books purchased by Friends group funding to stay with their library for at least 12 months, although they may be borrowed by users from other locations as part of the LibrariesWest catalogue.
If you’d like to make a contribution, speak to your local library staff about how to make a donation directly to us or through a Friends group – and find out if we have any current campaigns you’d like to support.
Join a Friends group
Friends groups work in partnership with local library teams. They provide support and boost awareness of a library and its services in the local community. Friends groups can be involved in a wide range of activities
- Fundraising for events, activities, services or new stock
- Supporting events, activities and promotions at the library
- Hosting reading groups
- Supporting volunteer recruitment
- Delivering additional events and activities to complement those provided by the library service.
We welcome suggestions and comments on stock from Friends groups – especially if they have liaised with local interest groups and clubs. We can’t guarantee that we will purchase items if we feel they don’t represent good value for money.
Contact staff at your local library to see if there’s a local Friends group you can join.
Set up a Friends group
If your local library doesn’t already have a Friends group, we can advise and support you in setting one up. It is important that all Friends groups are constituted, have elected members and formal processes in place.
We also recommend that any friends groups take out insurance cover for any activities they provide outside of library opening times.
If you would like more information about joining or setting up a friends group please speak to staff at your local library.