Volunteers play an important role within the University’s Library, Special Collections and Museums, contributing significantly to its overall success. As such, members of the public are encouraged and supported to become volunteers. Every effort is also made to accommodate students of the University of Aberdeen wishing to become volunteers, particularly where a vocational interest is expressed.
Special Collections have over the last few years had an average of 10 volunteers at any one time, contributing about 50 contact hours per week. The majority of the volunteers have worked with the archive team on cataloguing projects but increasingly volunteers have also worked with the rare books team and assisting with collection preservation tasks. Students are also taken on every year as part of placements organised by the University of Aberdeen History Department and as part of the Information and Library Studies MSc course ran by Robert Gordon University. With the introduction of new facilities and services such as the new exhibition space, conservation department and schools programme, there will be additional opportunities available.
The Library, Special Collections and Museums recognise that people volunteer for a variety of reasons and, as such, will endeavour to arrange placements so they are as mutually beneficial as possible to both parties. Consequently, volunteer placements will be made by interview and discussion with appropriate staff members, to match the applicant’s skills, talents, interests and desires with the needs of the Library, Special Collections and Museums at the time. Selection for interview will be based on the Volunteer Application Form or the applicant's CV where appropriate. Selected applicants will be asked to provide the names and contact details of two referees. Professional, technical or other qualifications may be necessary for some volunteer placements. Where this is the case, the volunteer will need to hold the relevant qualification before taking up a placement.
For more information see our Volunteer Policy which is available here.
There are opportunities with the archives and rare books teams, education team, exhibition team and at the Glucksman Conservation Centre.
If any of these opportunities sound like something you would be interested in, please indicate on your application form which section(s) you would like to apply to volunteer with.
If there are any specific opportunities within Special Collections, they will be advertised here.
It is testament to the programme that two current staff members started out as volunteers and utilised that initial experience in order to train as qualified archivists. Laura Castle, current Collections Care Assistant, volunteered whilst still a student undertaking her history degree. Whilst working with us after her degree, she then completed the distance learning post-graduate course in Archives & Records Management from the University of Dundee.
Andrew MacGregor, current Deputy Archivist, spent 2 weeks volunteering as part of his 4th year history degree and in conjunction with more experience gained at other archive services, went on to gain his post-graduate qualification from the University of Liverpool, before returning to Aberdeen.
To volunteer for work within Special Collections or Museums, download the application form and return it to:
Library, Special Collections and Museums