UCL Special Collections has been busy getting the new academic year off to a good start. While many of the team are immersed in teaching and collections management, the Outreach team have been focussing on new projects, new partnerships and volunteer recruitment.
The VSU’s volunteer recruitment fairs are an extremely valuable opportunity for us to meet new and returning students and to tell them about what we do. It’s always interesting to find out what people are studying and whether they’ve ever been tempted to use the Special Collections reader service – or whether they’ve already done so. It’s also a key point in the year for us to recruit volunteers.
Almost every stage of our department’s work is supported by volunteers; from conservation, sorting, catalogue enhancement and collection research to digitisation, transcription and outreach projects. We would not be able to function anywhere like the way we do without their help – and we’re confident that we provide valuable experiences for volunteers too.
This year already looks to be an interesting one for volunteer roles and opportunities. Our projects include collecting oral histories as part of the Newham touring exhibition project (blog post to follow soon – watch this space); using OCR (text recognition) software to transcribe our digitised collection of Jewish pamphlets; helping to conserve and clean collection items with our Senior Conservator Angela Warren-Thomas; and using our cataloguing system to improve accessibility to our archives, Little Magazines and Poetry Store collections. All of our volunteers receive a thorough induction into what we do and what we offer, and all the training that they’ll need to work on the project of their choice.
If you’re reading this and would like to volunteer with us, get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are looking forward to the Museums and Heritage Volunteer Recruitment fair on 24th October – if you’re nearby, come and say hello!