group of volunteers

It’s National Volunteer Week, and State Library Victoria is celebrating the launch of an exciting new Volunteer Greeter Program! Volunteer greeters will help our 2 million annual visitors find their way around the Library’s majestic heritage spaces, our collection of more than 5 million treasures, our world-class exhibitions and exciting programs for the whole family.

Applications are now open for a new intake of volunteer greeters, so if you can see yourself volunteering at State Library Victoria, read the position description and apply by Tuesday 5 June 2018.

Our greeters come from diverse backgrounds and have unique reasons for deciding to join the Library as volunteers. Let us introduce you to four members of the first ever cohort!


young man standing in the library wearing volunteer lanyard

My name’s James, I teach philosophy at the University of Melbourne and I’m also a Librarian there. I just finished my Masters last year and I’m thinking about doing a PhD next year, so I’m taking this year to think about what my next step will be.

When the opportunity to apply for the volunteer greeters program came up I thought it sounded really interesting – I was very curious about the State Library. Being a Librarian and having studied for so many years in the Redmond Barry Room, I had a hunch that there was so much behind the scenes that I wasn’t seeing.

I’ve volunteered at a lot of different places and what I’ve found is a really strong sense of community. You meet people who are very like-minded, enthusiastic, kind and willing to go out of their way to help people. That’s the nature of being a volunteer. Volunteering at the Library I can find a sense of place. That’s what I aim for in my life – a sense of belonging, and being able to contribute to a definable community. And I feel like I’ve already found that here because the people have been so kind, friendly and open.

Finding out that the Library was made out of 23 buildings was a shock. I’d always seen it as one, with lots of different rooms that branch off each other. Part of the reason I became a volunteer was to see what happens in the background – and that includes the back rooms – and get a sense of the immensity of the place.


young woman standing in the library wearing volunteer lanyard

My name is Vaishali and I’m an international student from Delhi, India.

I’ve been in Melbourne for the last year studying a Master of Accounting and Financial Management at La Trobe University. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with my life, but right now I’m more interested in volunteer work.

I’ve been volunteering at my university, helping international students. Helping people when they’re facing challenges for the first time – it really feels good. I was looking for an opportunity to volunteer outside of my university where I can meet more people, when I heard about the opportunity at State Library. And I love books, I always want to be surrounded by books, so I thought I’d give it a chance. I’m really happy in the place I’m in now.

The most unexpected thing I’ve discovered at the Library is the exhibitions. When I did the guided tour of the Changing Face of Victoria, I was amazed. I didn’t know much at all about Australia. And I think that is the place I would like everyone to come and that’s why when I greet people I let them know about the exhibition and the guided tour. The history of Victoria is so huge, and many people don’t have any idea about it. Being a Library that has existed for so long, you are providing something that everyone should know.


woman standing in the library wearing volunteer lanyard

My name is Dani and I’m studying to become a librarian through a Master of Information Management at RMIT.

I applied to become a volunteer greeter because it’s an opportunity to work at the State Library. It’s such a fantastic space and it’s a privilege to be part of a team that’s passionate about the buildings and collections. I visited the Library when I was a little girl and have always appreciated its beauty. It’s a dream-come-true to be here.

I’m passionate about access to public spaces, and want to be involved in projects that are inclusive and provide access to everyone. I think there can be an elitist idea about big libraries. People can be intimidated about entering, especially if English isn’t their first language or they have a physical or intellectual disability. The State Library really is a place that is open for everyone to learn, create and relax. I hope to be able to help visitors feel comfortable to explore and enjoy.

I chose the State Library because I think this particular library is so interesting – it doesn’t just hold and share collections and resources, it’s a cultural icon. It’s purposeful and meaningful to volunteer and there is an added bonus of being part of a likeminded community.

For me, the best part of being a greeter is taking people to the dome for the first time. It really is a magical space – one of the most beautiful rooms I have seen – and every visitor responds with wonderment and amazement.


young man standing in the library wearing volunteer lanyard

My name is Franklin and I’m currently pursuing my Masters of Information Systems at the University of Melbourne.

I was born and brought up in the Middle East in the Sultanate of Oman, and I’m actually an Indian, so I lived half of my life in Oman and half my life in India. This is the third leg of my voyage from Muscat to Mumbai to Melbourne. Anything with M is where I go.

I was looking for a volunteering role because throughout my life when I learn something, I want to find a way to give back to people. Volunteering is one of those roles where I can give back and a volunteer greeter was an opportunity for me to be at the forefront of experiencing Melbourne’s diversity. If there’s one place in Melbourne that people from every culture visit, it would be the Library. I love the experience of living around different people, working around different people and learning about different cultures.

Today I was amazed when I went to the Newspaper and Family History Reading Room and asked how many publications they hold and whether they had anything from India. I was told that they have so many it’s difficult to count! I was shown a database on the Library website that holds publications from around the world – India itself has 161 publications! This is a place where all I need to have is a membership to the Library and I can access hundreds and hundreds of publications around the world.


Interested in becoming a volunteer greeter? Read the position description and apply by Tuesday 5 June 2018.

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This article has 1 comment

  1. I have much faith in people. That so many are willing to give of themselves for the benefit of others. The State Library Greeters and all Volunteers are a shining example of how together we can make such a positive difference in so many different ways. Go Greeters

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