Volunteer book buying trips – an annual highlight

Without question, one of the best parts of working in a library is being able to buy new books for the collection. Especially when we can buy the books right here in Adelaide.

It feels good to support independent, family-owned bookshops and enjoy browsing their wide selections and beautiful displays.

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Library Volunteer Mike, at Dillons Bookshop in Norwood

Every year in early autumn, the library takes a busload of volunteers to Dillons Bookshop in Norwood, where everyone gets a small budget and plenty of browsing time to find new books. It’s a small reward to thank our team of volunteers for their time and commitment.

Funds for the buying trip come from the proceeds of the library’s secondhand book sales.

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One of our volunteers, Molly, browsing books on the shopping tour.

The diverse range of interests among the volunteers ensures the library receives plenty of new books on a number of topics.

From the recent purchase trip we now have beautiful new cookbooks, art books, fashion books, travel books, technical books, gorgeous children’s picture books, poetry collections and lots more in the library collection.

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Some of the new books, ready to be catalogued back in the library.

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The team enjoying milkshakes and coffee in Norwood Mall, after book purchasing.

Volunteers are a lifeblood to Tea Tree Gully Library. Everyday they help us to shelve thousands of books, assist children, teens, families and the elderly, teach IT skills, search family history records, deliver books to the homes of elderly customers and much more.

If you are interested in volunteering at the library (and buying new library books!) please register your interest on Council’s Volunteer website

What’s it like to volunteer at the Library?

Last week Tea Tree Gully Library celebrated National Volunteer Week, and all of the good work they do. The Library simply could not function without the devotion and energy of our volunteers, who come from many different backgrounds and ages. One of our youngest volunteers is Sophie, who recently gave us some feedback on her experience helping with the Library’s Digital Hub. We would like to encourage anyone interested in volunteering at the Library, or another council-run facility, to visit the Volunteer Vacancies website

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and how did you come to end up as a volunteer at the Tea Tree Gully Library?

Hi, I’m Sophie!  I spend my Tuesday afternoons volunteering at the Digital Hub in Tea Tree Gully library.  I’m originally from Canada but moved here from England where I lived for four years, after having lived in Upstate New York for 11 years!

While visiting the Tea Tree Gully website I saw an ad about volunteering at the Digital Hub, and after making a phone call, meeting up with some coordinators, and having an interview, I was in!

What kinds of things do you provide volunteer assistance with at the library?

I work at the Digital Hub, helping mostly seniors learn how to use technology more effectively on  iPads, laptops, computers, iPods, or phones.

You are one of our youngest volunteers at the library, and you work with some of our most elderly customers. Is the age gap an issue and are people shocked when they see how young you are? 

The age gap doesn’t seem to be a problem in the least!  I think the elderly people love seeing a young face.  Sometimes when someone arrives for a lesson, even though I am right there, they stand around and seem to be wondering where their teacher is!  I approach them with a smile and ask them, “Are you here for the Digital Hub?”  I sometimes receive a surprised look but they don’t seem to mind at all.

What is it about volunteering you enjoy – where do you get your moments of joy?

It is such a joy to be able to explain things and solve problems that have been such a pain to the customer.  I love seeing the excitement on their face when they understand how to navigate or use a certain product.  It is always fun to amaze them with handy new tricks like copy and pasting (my most popular one)! I love hearing positive reports from staff members about people who have really appreciated a session.

What are some of the challenges with volunteering?

I think the biggest challenge is thinking up solutions on the spot and figuring out how to explain them as clearly as I can.

You are so young and the world is your oyster. Why have you made the choice to volunteer at such a young age, rather than go out and party, enjoy your hobbies and friends?

I thought volunteering would be the perfect way to get a taste of what a job might be like.  And I am actually enjoying my hobbies at the hub by teaching and exploring technology!  I have even met some lovely new people whom I am getting to know. I enjoy my regular customers!

What would you say to someone who is interested in volunteering, but is slightly hesitant about giving it a go?

Don’t let an opportunity such as volunteering pass you by!  It is a perfect way to get some great experience and meet some lovely people along the way.  You will never regret doing something that is not just beneficial for yourself but also for the many people who you will be helping.  It doesn’t hurt to give volunteering a try but you will probably end up continuing once you’ve started!

Interested in volunteering at the Library?

There are currently a number of volunteering opportunities available at The City of Tea Tree Gully Library.

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Volunteers are being sought for the following roles:

  • Library Access Service Bus Volunteer
    When: Monday and Wednesday – monthly
    Time: 9am – 12pm or 12pm – 3pm

We are seeking an enthusiastic person interested in assisting customers access the Library via our bus service. This role involves collecting patrons from their door, helping them on and off the bus and assisting them with their Library selections. Opportunities for chats and coffee in the Library before making the return trip.

  • Community History Service Volunteer
    When: Monday, Friday & Saturdays – weekly or fortnightly
    Time: 10am -12pm or 2pm – 4pm

Interested in community history and keen on sharing your knowledge and skills? This one-on-one role involves assisting patrons to research community or family history queries, using library databases and resources. The role will also involve liaising with the Community History Officer around history and community events.

  • Early Learning Program Volunteer
    When: Monday to Friday
    Time: 10am – noon

Come and join our fun Early Learning team and help deliver our programs. This role will involve reading of stories, singing songs, set up/pack up, explaining the craft activities and promoting the 0-5 program. You will engage with children and their parents/caregivers in a meaningful, professional and enthusiastic manner and supporting the group facilitator is required.

  •  Library English Literacy Tutor Volunteer

When: Weekly/ Fortnighly sessions
Time:  1 hour each

We are seeking an enthusiastic and understanding person with an interest helping people develop their English Literacy skills. This one-on-one role involves providing high quality English literacy tutoring to improve the skills of clients from diverse backgrounds. You will be required to evaluate and assess individual clients to develop a literacy program to meet their needs.

This could be a perfect opportunity for yourself or anyone you know looking for an opportunity to contribute to our community in a meaningful way.

Visit our website for more info http://bit.ly/1zGHLoC

Starting your family history?

Do you need help with starting your family history or just want some practical advice on how to overcome problems with your research? Need to find the missing names, dates and relationships in your family tree?

Experienced volunteers are available in Tea Tree Gully Library’s Local History Room to assist you with your family history research every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11am-5pm.

Should you have a large family tree to uncover, or you require assistance to perform a more detailed family history search, you can book a special one-on-one session with a volunteer on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Our volunteers can help you to research several key resources that form the backbone of any family history research, such as:

  • Indexes of births, deaths and marriages.
    You’ll find indexes but full certificates are held by the registry office in the State that the event happened.
  • Passenger lists
    Look for indexes and lists of passengers immigrating to Australia.
  • Convict records
    Find records about sentencing, transportation, where convicts served out their sentences and maybe more.
  • Electoral rolls
    See where you ancestors were living.

Come into the Library any time to make an appointment or give us a call on 8397 7333.

The Modbury Digital Hub is launched!

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Mayor Miriam Smith and Digital Hub volunteer George split screen their speech via iPads and the Smart TV

Thursday morning saw the Federal Government launch the four SA Digital Hubs of Charles Sturt, Salisbury, Adelaide Hills and Modbury at four simultaneous special events.

Mayor Miriam Smith guided the Modbury Hub launch, featuring a video provided by Digital Hub Coordinator Chris Campbell demonstrating the impact that the Digital Hub technologies and training program has had on the community. As one resident explained, he finds the sessions invaluable and ‘would have lost all of his hair’ if it wasn’t for Chris and his team of trainers.

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Hub Coordinator Chris Campbell talks digital literacy

Federal Member for Makin Tony Zappia also praised the new NBN rollout and how Digital Hubs are about increasing the digital literacy of the community.

Some of the new technologies were demonstrated via the split screen cross between the Mayor and Digital Hub volunteers on iPads, and between the trainers in different parts of the Library. The event concluded with some words from Coordinator Chris and a live stream from Charles Sturt where Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy,  Stephen Conroy officially launched the SA Digital Hubs.

Congratulations to the team, our volunteers, and also the community for the great asset the Digital Hub has already proven to be!

Have you met our Digital Hub Volunteer…Gordon?

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Library Volunteer – Gordon

Internet Training is a popular program in the Library which has Digital Hub Volunteers provide individual, hands on assistance to Library customers who are new to using computers and tablet devices and need to build their confidence. Gordon has been a Volunteer for nearly 3-years and shares some thoughts on his role as a Digital Hub Volunteer.

Why do you like volunteering at the Library? I get a kick out of seeing someone grasp a new concept or feeling a little less threatened by computers. Also, I like people to become computer literate so they will have some access to the world should they become ‘shut in’.

How has Volunteering changed your life?It’s replaced work, providing contact with people, as well as some discipline and job satisfaction. I enjoyed work and would not have retired had I been able to reduce hours. Now I do some sort of voluntary work three or four days a week and have time to spend on hobbies as well.

City of Tea Tree Gully Library  is celebrating National Volunteers Week 13th-19th May 2013. We have over 140 volunteers in the Library, across 9 different programs. To all of our volunteers we say, ‘thanks a million.’