We love our volunteers at Explore, and we know that without your support we cannot provide many of our additional services.  We welcome volunteers from all of York’s communities, whether you want to gain some skills to get back into work, have a talent you would like to share, or just love libraries and archives. Our opportunities range from gardening to teaching coding – as well as the chance to get up close with books and archives – and there really is something for everyone!

Our commitment to you:

  • We’ll provide you with training and feedback to help you carry out your role
  • We’ll do our best to help you develop your skills
  • We’ll respect your skills and individual wishes and do our best to meet them
  • We’ll make sure you are treated according to our equal opportunities policy

We are committed to not using volunteers to replace our paid staff, but your support helps us grow new projects and enhances the work we do in our libraries and archives.

If you are interested in joining us, complete the volunteer application form and the equalities form.

Then email them to yorkvolunteers@exploreyork.org.uk or hand them in at any York library and we’ll invite you in for a chat about volunteer opportunities.

For more information, read our Volunteer Agreement.


Current Volunteer roles


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 page.

For further information, click on HLS

Location: This role is available at a range of Explore and Gateway libraries.


Archive Collections Projects Volunteer

Interested in archives? Interested in plans? Interested in the history of York?  We have a fantastic volunteering opportunity for our On the Drawing Board Project, which will catalogue the architects and engineers plans of York. If you are looking for project or archives experience then this is the role for you. Places are limited, so please contact us as  soon as possible if you are interested.

For further information, click on Archive Collections Projects Volunteer

Location: the former Tang Hall Library building, Fifth Avenue, Tang Hall, York, YO31 0PR


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.

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

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, New Earswick, Poppleton, and Strensall Libraries.


Shop Volunteer

The shop volunteer role offers you the opportunity to work as part of the team supporting the day to day running of Explore.  You will gain experience of engaging with customers and visitors of all ages and backgrounds, and increase your confidence and customer service skills.

For further information, click on shop volunteer

Location: This role is available at  Explore Libraries


IT Buddy

All our libraries have public access IT facilities. York residents can use our PCs for up to two hours a day for free.

Some people need a little help to get started and find the information they’re looking for, whether it’s accessing a particular website, completing an online form or adding attachments to email.

For further information, see IT Buddy.

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



An opportunity to gain experience in working with babies, young children, parents and carers and have the privilege of introducing young minds to new worlds that are only available through stories.

For further information, see Storyteller.

Location: This role is available at all Explore Libraries & Gateway Libraries

Explore A Story Assistant

Explore a Story is an interactive storytelling session that lasts 1 hour. The session is delivered to up to 20 children between ages of 2 and 5.

For further information, see Explore A Story Assistant.

Location: This role is available at  Explore Libraries


Booksale organiser

Sales of old and duplicate books are held regularly, raising valuable income to buy new books. Sales normally take place over several days, including weekends, manned by volunteers with guidance and support from staff. This is a chance to gain experience interacting with customers and working as part of a team.

For further information, see Booksale Organiser.

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


Event assistant

We have an exciting programme of events that attract high profile national and local authors and storytellers. We need your help to deliver these entertaining and informative sessions to adult audiences.

For further information, see Event Assistant.

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



As a  Chatterbooks volunteer you will help deliver interactive and fun reading group sessions for children aged 7-12.

You will encourage children to talk about what they’re reading, take part in fun activities inspired by the best children’s books, and choose new books to take home and read.

For further information, see Chatterbooks.

Location: This opportunity is available in York, Acomb, Clifton, Haxby and Tang Hall


Children’s shelver

Support library staff by shelving returned books and other items, keeping the stock in order, keeping the displays topped up and making sure young customers have a good selection of books to browse.

For further information, see Children’s Shelver.

Location: This opportunity is available at Explore York Library Learning Centre


Explore Cafe 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 & tidy space for everyone to enjoy.

For more information see Explore Cafe Volunteer.

Location: This opportunity is available at Explore York Cafe, Rowntree Park Cafe and Acomb Explore Library.

Meet and greet

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 Explore York Library Learning Centre


Family history buddy

You’ll help customers make the most of our family history resources by supporting their online research and answering their questions.

Full training will be given.

For further information, see Family History Buddy.

Location: This opportunity is available in Archives and Local History at Explore York Library Learning Centre

Archives Support

We’re looking for passionate volunteers to support customers using the new archives and local history service, through orientation and answering simple questions like how to find a newspaper article or locate a map.

You’ll also monitor the local and family history spaces and maintain the security and preservation of the collections when they are in use.

For further information, see Archives Support.

Location: This opportunity is available in Archives and Local History, Explore York Library Learning Centre



Can I claim expenses?

Volunteers should not be out of pocket as a result of volunteering for us. We’ll reimburse reasonable travel costs 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.