Join our volunteers as we assess the condition of the books at Scotney Castle

Conservation is a huge part of the work we undertake at Scotney Castle and a lot of that work involves assessing the current condition of the items within our collection. As we embark on a project to assess the condition of the 6,500 books in the study and library, we're looking for volunteers with an interest in books to join us.

What’s involved? 

A survey of a sample of books at Scotney shows that the book collection is in need of a full assessment. We need a team of volunteers who will go through each and every book, dusting them firstly and then assessing the books for damage caused by gravity or pests. Full training will be given.

What is a Condition Assessor?

You will be checking the condition of each book in our collection, making a note of the individual status of each one. Working in pairs, you'll methodically check through looking at their structure and noting any damage. We will also be undertaking conservation cleaning by dusting every book. The work will take place in front of visitors so you may well need to talk about what you're doing and answer a few questions.

Book conservation
Person cleaning the spine of a book with a brush
Book conservation

What’s in it for you?

By joining our team of friendly, dedicated conservation volunteers, you'll be able to get up close to the books and learn how to look after them. Working in the historic setting of the mansion, you'll also have the opportunity to take part in book conservation training from a National Trust Library Advisor. This will take place on Wednesday 12 February and will be compulsory to attend before starting work on the project.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for a team of 12 volunteers to work in pairs over 3 days a week. We will ask you to sign up online via MyVolunteering, so that we can track your hours.The work will take place in front of visitors, and if we are short of volunteers you may be put in a room to steward the space as well as working on the books.

Christopher Hussey's study at Scotney Castle
The study in the main house at Scotney Castle
Christopher Hussey's study at Scotney Castle

As this is an exciting new role at Scotney, we do need to make sure that we are still able to open to visitors. Therefore, we will ask that you also volunteer your time as a Room Guide in the showrooms for one shift every fortnight, on top of the book volunteering (again, signing up via MyVolunteering system).

Will this role suit you?

This role will suit someone who is able to handle books with care and have a level of physical fitness suitable for carrying occasional heavy loads. If you enjoy spending time on methodical and meticulous projects, have a good eye for detail, are comfortable using Microsoft Excel and don't mind answering questions from interested visitors as to what you are doing and why it's important, this role is for you.

Our consultant archivists working in the study
Our consultant archivists working in the study
Our consultant archivists working in the study

Your commitment to us

In return, we ask that you are able to commit to one shift a week, either morning or afternoon, on Mondays, Tuesdays or Fridays. Morning shifts run from 10.30am-1.30pm and afternoon shifts from 1.30pm-4.30pm. 

Room guiding shifts are 11am-2pm and 2pm-5pm. We are open everyday of the year apart from 24 and 25 December. 

What can you get out of volunteering?

Our volunteers enjoy a warm community, meeting with like-minded people and making new friendships. We like to think we provide a friendly and relaxed welcome to volunteers, who in turn pass that on to visitors, There are also many other perks to volunteering with us:

Training

We don't expect you to know the history of Scotney Castle before you arrive, nor how all our systems work or how to find your way around the property. Training will be given for the role you do and you'll have plenty of people around to ask for help. For some roles, you may be asked to go on a training day at a different property, or do some online training at a time convenient for you. We aim to make you feel confident in the role you wish to do!

House Volunteers
House Volunteers
House Volunteers

Volunteer Card

After 50 hours of volunteering each year, volunteers are rewarded with a National Trust volunteer card. This gives you free admission to properties managed by the National Trust or the National Trust for Scotland (except those where there is a charge to all members). If you are already a member, the volunteer card will provide you with free access for one accompanying guest. You'll also receive a 20% discount in all National Trust shops, restaurants and tea-rooms.

Expenses

We don't want you to lose out financially through volunteering with us so we will cover your agreed out-of-pocket expenses, such as travel between your home and Scotney Castle. 


Next steps    

Please apply by email, explaining why you would be interested in the project and what day you would like to volunteer with the books, plus how often you might be able to help out with stewarding. There will be an informal interview on site at Scotney Castle with our House and Collections Manager or our House Steward. This will cover the role and will answer any questions you may have. These will most likely take place between 23 and 29 January 2020.


Please email Helen Davis, our House and Collections Manager at helen.davis@nationaltrust.org.uk and Naomi Kulasingham, our House Steward at naomi.kulasingham@nationaltrust.org.uk.

The closing date to apply is Wednesday 8 January.