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Nurturing front-of-house staff and volunteers

Anemay Jack, 16.07.2018
Case study from Glasgow Women’s Library
Glasgow Women’s Library is the only Accredited museum with a collection that is dedicated to women’s history in UK. Much like its outstanding collection, the organisation champions equality and empowerment, which makes it a dream to volunteer on front-of-house (FoH).

I started working at the library nearly two years ago as an (FoH) volunteer, contributing about four hours a week. When I first started I had very little experience.

I was told at my induction that staff and volunteers were happy to answer any questions I had, but I was still extremely apprehensive because I had seen from previous working experiences that FoH staff are often treated with little respect.

Luckily, my apprehensions have been proven wrong. I’ve been empowered and inspired by fellow volunteers and staff members who have given me the confidence throw myself into the role and to take part in other projects throughout the organisation.

As a member of the FoH team I’ve gained administration experience and have grown in confidence. I welcome visitors warmly, and then show them around our archives and any exhibitions we have on.

Glasgow Women’s Library is built on a non-hierarchical system in which volunteers and staff members are treated equally and this has given the FOH team the power and confidence to shape the way that the organisation is run.

The gratitude for our input is shown in many ways, from staff members personally thanking us for our time and efforts to a monthly newsletter that congratulates us on the work that we are doing and showing quotes from happy visitors.

Being given responsibility and gratitude shows us that we are valued members of the organisation, which results in us benefitting from our voluntary efforts. This is why I always leave Glasgow Women’s Library feeling happier than when I walked in.

Anemay Jack is an archaeology student and a member of the front-of-house team at Glasgow Women’s Library