National Volunteer Week

It’s National Volunteer Week and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the approximately 100 volunteers who contribute their time, effort, talents and good humour to assist at the State Library.

This year’s theme for NVW is Volunteers Everyone Counts, so I thought I’d give an overview of who our volunteers are:

Officially the youngest is 15, unofficially seven (she volunteered with her aunt for the Better Beginnings Carnivale). The oldest is 85.

They speak Persian, Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian, German, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Hungarian, Italian, French, Indonesian, Spanish and, no doubt, more.

One has been volunteering here for 25 years, three started last week.

Their experiences are deep and varied. From our volunteers I can find someone who will write and analyse public policy, manager databases, team lead childcare centres, make great coffee, lead intercultural studies, teach computing courses, understand medical jargon, manage your investments, deliver a baby, take photos and archive them. We have zoologists, law students, post graduates, urban planners, union organisers, students of every level, library officers, library technicians and, yes, librarians.

They volunteer for a variety of reasons: to keep up their skills, to network, to gain experience and build CVs, for social interaction, to be around a wide range of people, for a sense of fulfilment, for professional development, to practice their English, to explore new career opportunities, to build applications for Masters and doctorates Degrees, to help the public, for the enjoyable environment, to watch films from the State Library collection, for exposure to WA history or a passion for family history.

They volunteer directly for the State Library, for the State Library Foundation and via the WA Genealogy Society.

Their time commitment may be sixteen hours a week (the maximum recommended) to once every three or four months for one of our events.

This week we celebrate them and their contribution. For the 2010-2011 financial year volunteers gave almost 8000 hours to the State Library. Because of them and their ‘value-adding’, our clients received increased service and greater access to our collections.

To our volunteers – thank you!

Volunteer Accomplishments

The State Library has approximately 90 wonderful people who volunteer for us. They partner with us in all sorts of ways, with all sorts of skills and are vital to the work of the State Library. Over the last year they have had many achievements and without them there is much that would not have been done.

In Collection Services, volunteers in the Liaison, Acquisition and Description teams processed and housed archival material, cleared 27 metres of ephemera, identified photos, created contents lists for Oral Histories, checked catalogues against items to be donated and assisted to make our collections more accessible to clients.

In Preservation and Maintenance volunteers cleaned and re-housed slides, made boxes for preserving materials, cross checked and matched scanned negatives and researched the history of photographs.

Volunteers in Community, Learning and Development were in The Place during story-time and school holidays, set up activities, keeping the noise to a soft roar and entertaining children.

Volunteers in Better Beginnings packed over 5000 packs for the birth to three years program as well as additional packs for the kindergarten pre-primary program. We could not have rolled out the program to libraries without their efforts. They also assisted with the packing of read aloud book sets and discovery backpacks for the Kindergarten pre-primary program.

Volunteers in Research and Discovery numbered and listed performance sets in score order, processed new donations and entered information onto spreadsheets.

Volunteers handed out information, were ushers and promoted future events at:
• WAAPA Concerts
• The Seniors’ Week Concert
• Wednesday Matinees, and
• The WA Week Concert

The Western Australian Genealogical Society volunteers have staffed the WAGS desk on the 1st floor and taken approximately 3 500 enquiries. They also provide invaluable support during Family History Week.

The State Library Foundation volunteer was integral part of their Heritage Mapping Project, widening its scope and making it a more valuable resource.

In Client Services volunteers have given administrative support, assisted the Library in the Discarded Book Sales and shelved a staggering 65 000 discard items in the Shop, assisted with events and helped research speeches.

Many, many thanks to our wonderful volunteers who are worth their weight in gold.

Help Promote Reading @ Love2Read Cafe

46% of Australia can’t read newspapers, follow a recipe, make sense of timetables, or understand the instructions on a medicine bottle.

On Saturday January 21st the Love2Read Cafe opens at the State Library of WA. For five weeks there will be an outdoor reading room with  free events and activities including giant scrabble, music gigs, yoga classes, chalk art, word games, baby rhymetime, family storytime, school holiday activities, author talks, book signings and more.

To help promote literacy and be part of this fun event volunteer at the Love2Read Cafe.

For more information, leave a response here or contact

Volunteers Wanted for the Love2Read Cafe

Do you enjoy working with people?
Do you love books and reading?
Want to combine the two?

The State Library of Western Australian is celebrating the National Year of Reading in 2012, and we’re looking for volunteers to help enthuse people about books and reading in our Love2Read café. It is an exciting time to be involved with the State Library and we are inviting motivated volunteers to participate in and share Australia’s love of language, literature, books and reading in all its forms.

The Love2Read café is the State Library of Western Australia’s flagship initiative to kick-start the National Year of Reading. It will be based on the Bryant Park reading room model in New York. Trolleys full of new and pre-loved books, magazines, comics and newspapers will be wheeled out under the canopied area in the front of the State Library, which will be transformed into a book café and open air library from 21 January to 26 February 2012.

The Love2Read café will feature bright, engaging decor with colourful chairs, tables and beanbags to encourage people to sit down and discover or rediscover the joy of reading for pleasure. There will also be a range of events and programs to attract a wide variety of audiences to take part in the Love2Read café, from author talks and book signings, to fitness classes and festival fringe events.

You will be working with other State Library staff members to make the Love2Read café a must-visit destination within the Perth Cultural Centre.

Volunteer Position: Love2Read Café Assistant
Directorate: Community, Learning and Discovery
Team: Participation and Learning
Reports to: Manager: Participation and Learning

Primary purpose of position:
To assist and support all day-to-day operations required for the smooth running of the Love2Read café at the State Library of Western Australia. This may include:
• Responding to queries and/or providing assistance to clients in the Love2Read café.
• Keep the area clean, tidying tables, reshelving books, arranging and stacking chairs.
• Being aware of stock levels, and restocking book trolleys when necessary.
• Assisting with all aspects of events, including event set-up and take-down.

Volunteers must be:
• Able to work well with State Library and Aroma café staff in contributing to a team environment which ensures the delivery of quality services to clients.
• Physically capable of working both outdoors and in a library environment, for example shifting and lifting of books, stacking of chairs and tables, pushing trolleys.
• Available to work the hours to which they have committed, which may include evenings and weekends.

Desirable qualities and experience:
• Excellent interpersonal skills, and the ability to connect with a wide range of people.
• Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written.
• Experience in the administrative and logistical aspects of running events and programs.
• Experience in a library, bookstore or other customer service-driven environment.
• An awareness of Occupational Safety and Health requirements relevant to the position.

For further information contact Mary Doyle, Volunteer Coordinator, on 9427 3327. To apply, tell us in 250 words or less what you’d bring to the Love2Read café, and send a 2-page (max.) résumé with contact details of 2 referees, to Mary Doyle ( by 5 December 2011.

If successful, applicants will be invited to attend an interview on Monday 12 December at 2.30pm. Volunteers should also be available to attend a training session on Monday 16 January, 2012.