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System Upgrade

We will be upgrading our computer systems from 28 November. During the changeover, there will be some library functions that you won’t be able to use online or through the self-service kiosks. We aim to keep disruption to a minimum and our staff will always be on hand to help.

Why we need volunteers

We are looking for volunteers of all ages to help out in a range of different roles. Some do short term projects and some stay for years! Some young volunteers only help out during the school holidays (such as our Summer Reading challenge helpers). You can read more about the different roles and the experiences of some of our volunteers below.

How to apply

No one is excluded from volunteering. However, there is a legal requirement that for some activities with children and/or vulnerable people some volunteers may be screened (DBS checked), which Torbay Libraries will pay for.

Take the completed form and signed Volunteer Agreement to your local library. We will contact you after we receive your application to arrange an interview. You personal information will remain confidential.

If you prefer, you can contact our Volunteer Coordinator on 01803 208288, Monday – Wednesday during office hours.

What can you do?

Download the descriptions of the roles we offer:

  Download the Torbay Libraries Volunteer Application Form

  Download the Torbay Libraries Volunteer Agreement

  Download the Books on Wheels Role Description

  Download the Computer Buddy Volunteer Role Description

  Download the Music, Rhythm & Rhyme Volunteer Role Description

  Download the Lego Club Volunteer Opportunity Form

  Download the Local History Volunteer Opportunity Form

  Download the Family History Volunteer Opportunity Form

What is it like to volunteer in a library?

Read about the experiences of some of our volunteers.

Volunteering in Brixham Library

I am an IT Helper in the library, where anybody can either book a session or just turn up, and have a one to one “tuition” on anything to do with using a computer/tablet/mobile phone. People often have little gaps in their knowledge when it comes to IT and a little help usually sorts out the problem! Our library is a central hub of the community and by being part of the library team, even for only a few hours a week, makes a really interesting volunteering role. I do one morning a week and am always meeting new people, some with amazing life stories to tell, and who are always appreciative of the help they have received. The library staff are also really friendly and make me feel a part of their team. I would thoroughly recommend anyone to have a go at volunteering.

I’m one of the volunteer “Computer Buddies” at Churston library working one 3 hour session per week. I give support to library members who may struggle to perform tasks on a computer and/or get used to their own Tablet. Requests can include: internet searches, printing, use of email and Facebook.


After stopping work after a 35 year career I wanted to create some structure to my week. I chose Computer Buddy volunteering as it provided the aspect I missed most about my job: providing one-to-one support. I hoped that I could foster a rapport with each person so helping me set the pace of my teaching. The sessions have reaffirmed my belief that listening is an important precursor to successful teaching.


I invariably enjoy the sessions and we (library user and I) usually manage find something to laugh about so it has been a lot of fun at times. I have met some lovely people and often leave the building with a smile on my face.


Skills come in many forms and it seems a shame to stop using them when they could be helpful to others. I would certainly recommend volunteering: my tip would be to do something you enjoy and be realistic about your availability.

I was an IT Buddy with Torquay Library for nearly two years and also helped with family history/Ancestry sessions.


Volunteering has been part of my life for many years in a number of different organisations. In common with most volunteers I get a great deal of satisfaction out of helping people to use the computer. In terms of Ancestry, often people see the programmes on television and think they will get an automatic result but very often they come to realise it can be a long and complicated process to explore their family tree. When they are successful I am very pleased to have been part of the process. Even when I cannot get a result I can sometimes provide other routes for people to find information. I started exploring my husband’s family history in the 1970s and it is an interest which has never left me! Currently, having moved away from Paignton, I help with the monthly Ancestry drop-in at Torquay Library.

I am a Volunteer Computer Buddy at Torquay Library. I assist people who may have problems with their computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone. Not Macs or iPads though. Not my cup of tea.


The help I give includes:-

  • Showing someone how to log on to one of the library computers
  • Using our scanners
  • Printing documents
  • Attaching a document or photo to an email
  • Searching the web
  • Completing online forms
  •  And many other I.T. related problems

I even teach absolute beginners how to use a computer, tablet or smart phone.

I have been a volunteer at the library since June 2015. Before that, I was engaged in similar work at The Pad in Paignton. Volunteering gives me the opportunity to pass on my skills and return something to the community, and I enjoy explaining to people how to use computers and helping them in what for some can be a stressful situation.

Torquay Library is such a friendly place to be, and is the perfect venue for learning new I.T. skills in a relaxed environment.

Most of my working life’s been spent with computers so when I retired I was looking for something to do and when I saw the “Computer Buddies” advertised in the library I thought I would give it a go.I have now been helping out at Brixham library for three and a half hours a week and Paignton Library for three hours a week for just over two years and can honestly say that I really enjoy it and look forward to coming in.


I thought it would keep my IT skills up to date but I am getting so much more than that. I find it very rewarding and sometimes challenging helping people who have a wide variety of needs. I have helped people on the library’s PCs, their own laptops, tablets and smartphones. The range of topics is very varied too, from simply logging on and using email and browsing the internet to helping someone trace their family history. When you have helped someone they really appreciate it, one lady gave me a box of chocolates and another bottle of wine, it gives me a warm glow when I know that they have achieved what they wanted. I have met some nice and interesting people , to top it off the ladies at both libraries are all friendly and helpful.


To anybody thinking of volunteering I can only say don’t hesitate DO IT, you won’t regret it.

Working with volunteers was part of the plan for Paignton Community Library from the outset.  They really enhance the service the library provides, and help people in lots of different ways, for example organising the Film Clubs and  Reading Garden, supporting Books on Wheels and Music Rhythm and Rhyme, and offering one to one support for computer users.’

We really value our Computer Buddies; they are very popular and have become a part of the Churston library team. We have many requests for help with computers, tablets etc and it is very helpful to be able to signpost these to our buddies. Of course we are always on hand to help too.

All four library branches in Torbay have Friends groups. Friends groups are library members who volunteer their time and energy to help their local library.

They are formally constituted and their role is to:

  • Promote the value of Torbay Libraries in the community
  • Be a forum for consultation on library service developments
  • Raise funds to support library events and additional facilities
  • Provide a programme of social and cultural activities

The Friends groups costs £5.00 to join, and your annual membership charge entitles you to 5 choices between free CD or DVD hire or free reservations on Torbay stock.

You can join any of the Friends groups by asking for a membership form in your local library.Some groups also have websites where you can read their latest news.