Reading Friends volunteer

Reading Friends is a national scheme connecting people through conversations about books and reading.

Coordinating a group of people in a library to chat about books, reading, reading aloud or reminiscence. Books and reading includes audiobooks, reminiscence material, poetry and a wide range of other resources.

The role requires:

  • communication, listening and interpersonal skills
  • the ability to work without supervision
  • being physically able to carry books
  • the ability to maintain a meaningful conversation.

The ideal volunteer will:

  • enjoy communicating with people of a wide range and all ages , particularly older people, and those with disabilities
  • be interested in books, reading and reminiscence
  • demonstrate patience and understanding
  • be passionate about the benefits of reading
  • understand our library services and resources
  • be reliable and trustworthy
  • have commitment to the equality and diversity of the local community
  • be aged 18 or above.

Your duties will be to:

  • select books and other resources (for example, audiobooks or reminiscence packs) to suit the requirements of your Reading Friend group
  • plan sessions to meet the needs and interests of your Reading Friends group
  • schedule dates for regular meetings and ensure that a meeting space is available in the library
  • inform members of the theme chosen (if appropriate) and the dates of meetings
  • lead the discussions or delegate this to another group member.
  • organise and serve refreshments, or delegate to another volunteer/group member
  • collect money for refreshments from group members when required
  • attend each meeting or delegate responsibilities to another volunteer or reading group member if unable to attend
  • understand the full range of items and resources available in the library service
  • use the self-service machines to issue items to the Reading Friends group ticket and return items
  • communicate any queries or concerns to library staff.

Time required

Most Reading Friend groups meet approximately every four weeks. Some time may be required between meetings to manage books and communicate with the group.

Guidance, training and support

Training, guidance and support will be given to all Reading Friends volunteers and there may be the option to attend additional training appropriate to the role. You will also have a named mentor who can provide support and information.

Training and equipment

The Library Service will supply any library equipment or resources that are required.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check

This role does not require a DBS check.


One reference will be required before you are accepted for the role. This must be someone who has known you in a personal, work or voluntary capacity for at least three years.

Other information

All volunteers will be asked to sign a volunteer agreement and may be required to carry out a practical exercise relevant to the role before starting.

Volunteers will be required to wear a lanyard and volunteer photo ID badge whilst in the library and sign the attendance sheet on arrival and departure.

All library volunteers will be encouraged to become a member of West Sussex Library Service and subscribe to the Volunteer eNewsletter to keep up to date with your volunteer role and the latest library news.

Last updated:
27 October 2023
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