We love our volunteers at Explore.

You could gain skills to get back into work, share your talent, or maybe you just love libraries and archives.

Volunteer for Explore and you will meet new people, develop new skills or share your skills with others. Volunteering is proven to improve your well-being, so why not give it a go?

In return, we’ll give you training and feedback to help you carry out your role and develop your skills and re-pay you for any travel expenses to get to your library.

We don’t use volunteers to replace our paid staff, but you will help us grow new projects and enhance the work we do in our libraries and archives.

Current Volunteer roles

The details of the roles we currently have available are directly below and for all roles (except Director) you can apply here. Explore is an equal opportunities employer and our volunteers will always be treated with respect and fairness in accordance with our equalities policy.

Explore Board Director

Could you be a director on our board? We are recruiting for Non-executive and Community directors to join us from September 2024.

We are looking for new Board members to join us who can help us continue to:
• Develop our vision, mission and values.
• Set our strategy and structure.
• Delegate effectively to management.
• Exercise accountability to relevant stakeholders.
• Support the Senior Leadership Team.

We have identified three specific areas of skills and experience which will enhance our Board:
• Finance expertise – CCAB qualified or qualified by experience
• Digital – knowledge of AI, Digital inclusion, other new technologies
• Commercial development, fundraising and income generation

If you do not meet these specific criteria but believe you could contribute to our thinking and our future success and resilience we want to hear from you. We are keen to increase the diversity of our Board and welcome applications from all sectors of the community.

Find out more and by downloading our recruitment pack

Applications by email only (see recruitment pack for details).

Deadline for Applications: Midnight 7 June 2024
Starting date for successful applicants: 5 September 2024

Summer Reading Challenge Volunteer

This volunteer opportunity is only available over the summer months.

This is an excellent opportunity for those aged 13+ to gain practical experience of working in a library, build confidence and meet people. You’ll sign children up to the Summer Reading Challenge, talk to children about the books they have read and can help out with our summer programme of events and activities.

For more information see Summer Reading Challenge Volunteer

Location: This role is available at all Explore Libraries & Archive locations

Café Volunteer

This is an excellent opportunity to gain practical experience, build confidence and meet people. It’s important to us that all our cafes have a friendly, welcoming atmosphere and are a clean and tidy space for everyone to enjoy.

For more information see Explore Café Volunteer

Location: This opportunity is available at York, Acomb, Tang Hall, Hungate and Rowntree Park Reading Café.

Digital Support Volunteer

Many of us take the internet for granted. We shop, bank, access services, enjoy entertainment or keep in touch with family and friends online, but there are still people who struggle to get connected.
As a digital volunteer you can help people take the first step to getting online and making the most of the web.
You don’t need to be an expert and you’ll probably improve your knowledge too.

For more information see Digital Support Volunteer.

Location: This opportunity is available at York, Acomb and Tang Hall

Home Library Service

We offer a home library service for those in our communities who love to read, but can no longer easily leave their home to hop to the nearest library to choose the books they want for themselves. As a Home Library Service volunteer you will choose and deliver books on a regular basis and help people continue to share the joy of reading.

For more information visit our dedicated Home Library Service page.

For further information, click on Home Library Service volunteer.

Location: This role is available at all Explore libraries.

Local Library Volunteer

This is an opportunity to gain practical all round experience of working in a small library. Our smaller libraries are managed by one member of staff so really need the support of volunteers to deliver their excellent standard of customer care and range of services.

For further information, click on Local Library Volunteer.

Location : The role is available at Bishopthorpe, Copmanthorpe, Dringhouses, Dunnington, Fulford, Huntington, New Earswick, Poppleton, and Strensall Libraries.

Meet and Greet Volunteer

This is a chance to be the first point of contact for people, presenting a positive image of York Explore. You’ll signpost customers and visitors to wherever they need to be in the building, and help promote services and events.

For further information, see Meeter and Greeter.

Location: This opportunity is available at York Explore library only.

Shelver and Stock Volunteer

This is an opportunity to gain practical experience of working in a library and ensure that our books are attractively displayed and shelved correctly.

For further information, click on Shelver and Stock.

Location: This role is available at all Explore Libraries & Archive locations

Shelver and Stock Volunteer at the Community Stadium

An excellent opportunity to gain some practical experience of working in a library. The role involves working as part of a team of volunteers, independently supporting a self-service library.

For more information see Shelver and Stock volunteer Community Stadium

Location: The Community Stadium, Vangarde Park

Storytelling volunteer

An amazing opportunity to introduce babies and children to whole new worlds that are only available through listening to stories. The thrill you get when you hold the attention of a young child for an entire story is unforgettable.

For more information see Storytime and Rhymetime volunteer.

Location: this opportunity is available at all libraries and at Hungate Reading Cafe.

You can find out more by looking at our Volunteer Policy, or jump to the FAQ section later in this page.


Can I claim expenses?

Volunteers should not be out of pocket as a result of volunteering for us. We’ll reimburse reasonable travel costs up to the value of a day travel ticket within City of York boundaries.

Do I need to supply references?

We like to take up two references for all roles and ask that you supply this information on the application form. They should be people you’ve had recent contact with like a current or recent employer, teacher, neighbour or family friend, but should not be a relative.

What skills and experience do I need?

Most roles just require time, energy and enthusiasm. Any additional skills will be set out in the role description. These might include, for example, previous IT experience.

What support and training will I be given?

You’ll be given all the necessary training and support you need to do your role. You’ll also be given an induction, be invited to the library to meet the staff and get to know the building, and will receive ongoing support as your role progresses.

If you have any other questions, contact us at yorkvolunteers@exploreyork.org.uk.