Erica Hateley

“I grew up in Australia and have lived in a few places around the world. I’m a mid-life career changer and moved to Manchester last year to attend library school. I had taken the opportunity to tour Chetham’s Library when I first visited the city, and when I saw the opportunity to volunteer I jumped at the chance! I’ve been volunteering since October 2018.

Chetham’s is one of my favourite places in Manchester – nearly every tour, I meet a first-time visitor to the library who has grown up in the area but either didn’t know the library was here, or didn’t realise they could visit so easily. It makes all of us feel like old-school Mancunians and newcomers to the city at the same time!

“The library is a gorgeous, energising space. I love the smell and the light. My favourite object to tell visitors about is the small, intact chained library in the reading room. It’s one of five that Humphrey Chetham commissioned for churches in the area, and seems to capture visitors’ imaginations as much as it does mine.

I often get to have pleasant conversations with folks from around Manchester and around the world. Some people have just stumbled across the library, others have made a kind of pilgrimage to see the library in general – or the Marx and Engels alcove in particular.

Most importantly, I get to share in visitors’ enthusiasm for the beautiful space. One of my favourite moments is when, ascending the staircase to the library, we turn the corner—I usually hear one or more versions of “wow!” as visitors get their first glimpse of the library.

If you’re thinking of volunteering here, I would say: do it! If you have a passion for talking about interesting places and history, like to meet new people, and don’t mind walking around for a few hours at a time, Chetham’s Library offers a wonderful opportunity.”

“The library is a gorgeous, energising space. I love the smell and the light. It seems to capture visitors’ imaginations as much as it does mine.“

Erica • Chetham's Library Volunteer

Volunteering at Chetham’s Library

We’re always looking for enthusiastic volunteers to join our friendly team. If you enjoy meeting people from all walks of life, and share our passion for providing an excellent welcome to visitors to our historic library, then becoming a Visitor Engagement volunteer could be perfect for you.

  • The role

    Visitor Engagement Volunteers

    Could you be part of our team?

    We’re looking for people with a love of history and heritage who enjoy meeting people, sharing information about the Library and listening to the stories our visitors bring. It’s an active role and involves being outside in all weathers some of the time, as well as spending time in the wonderful environment of the seventeenth-century library and medieval buildings.

  • what's involved

    Visitor Engagament volunteers generally work shifts meeting visitors from the gate and escorting them to the Library.
    Working alongside 1-2 additional volunteers to provide a smooth operation guiding visitors from the security gate to and from the library, and coordinating large groups around the building.

    The role can be physically demanding and although Chetham’s Library will make all reasonable accommodations for our volunteers where possible, it will involve being outside to meet our visitors each hour.

  • what's required

    If you’re outgoing, have a confident disposition and the ability to ‘think on one’s feet’ then this is the role for you!

    No specific level of educational training is required, although a strong interest in history and the ability to develop and communicate subject knowledge a clear advantage.

    The Library shares the site with a school therefore all our volunteers are required to undergo an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Services check, as well as Chetham’s School of Music enhanced clearance procedures.

Current opportunities

We’re partnered with some of the most prestigious cultural venues in Manchester.

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