Celebrating Volunteerism @ YPRL

This week YPRL is joining thousands of organisations across Australia to celebrate 30 years of National Volunteer Week.

Established in 1989, National Volunteer Week was the first collaborative attempt to promote volunteering nationally. It is the largest celebration of volunteers and volunteerism in Australia and provides an opportunity to highlight the role of volunteers in our community and to say thank you to the more than 6 million Australians who volunteer.

Yarra Plenty Regional Library has a long and rich history of volunteerism. Long before YPRL came to be in 1986, Heidelberg Regional Library had an active volunteer presence in the community.

Our Home Library Service has been running for at least 39 years! Even in 1980, we couldn’t keep up with the demand.

Today, YPRL’s Home Library Service is our largest volunteer program, comprising 44 volunteers who pick up books on a monthly basis and deliver them to individuals in the community. Collectively, this group of volunteers makes up almost 50% of the valuable time contributed to the library. Together they have volunteered with YPRL for a total of 314 years! Incredibly, at least 9 of these volunteers have volunteered for the library for over 15 years each.

Often times the relationship between the volunteer and the library lover develops into a friendship where the two can ‘chat with a like-minded person about the books.’ The Home Library Service has recently been featured in the local news for the positive effect it has on members of the local community that are often isolated and lonely. You can view these stories at the following links, here and here.

YPRL’s Words on Wheels program was developed in 2011 by the vibrant Seniors and Volunteers Coordinator at the time, Carolyn Jury, as a way for volunteers to share a glimpse of the outside world to residents of Aged Care facilities. Volunteers research, develop, and deliver the kits that contain information, photos and stories on any topic from Australian flora to the British Royals - things that might inspire discussion and sharing memories on the topic.

Words on wheels is our second largest volunteer cohort, with 16 volunteers. One of our active WOW volunteers Nelun Tirimanne received ‘Highly Commended’ recognition in the Outstanding Adult Volunteer Award category at the Premier’s Volunteer Champions Awards in 2016 for her contributions to YPRL and the local community. She also was the 2017 recipient of the Volunteer of the Year Award at the Banyule Volunteer Awards.

In recent years, what our volunteers do has expanded with the growth of programs at the library. We are lucky to have volunteers that help with storytimes in Mandarin, French and German, those that support our coding, iPad help, and English conversation classes, volunteers that assist with admin and collections support at the Library Support Services office and others that help with gardening and genealogy – just to name a few!

Thank you to all of our volunteers who are an essential part of YPRL.             

This week we are celebrating National Volunteer Week by sharing stories about volunteering at YRPL. Follow along by searching our volunteers tag and the hashtag #NVW2019.

Are you interested in any of the programs we have mentioned in this article?

We are always accepting clients who would like to receive books for the Home Library Service (HLS). Please contact Lisa Dempster 9408 7888 and ldempster@yprl.vic.gov.au to enquire about HLS.

Please visit our ‘Volunteering With YPRL’ page and keep your eyes open for upcoming volunteer opportunities with the library. You can also visit our 'Volunteering in the Community' page for access to local volunteering opportunities.

Contact Sarah Howe, Volunteers Coordinator at 9088 3441 for more information.

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