Volunteering and work experience

Both Cornwall Record Office (CRO) and the Cornish Studies Library (CSL) offer a variety of volunteering opportunities and work experience placements. We work in line with Cornwall Council’s Volunteer Policy and good practice guidelines. We are committed to providing supportive opportunities and aim to match people’s needs and preferences to the experiences we offer.

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Anyone can apply to be a volunteer at either the Record Office or the Library, and we will work with you to devise a placement which meets your needs, and gives you the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to our work.

Whether you are hoping to pursue an interest in Cornish history, use or develop skills in handling or preserving documents, or want to gain some general experience of working in archives or libraries to help further your career, please feel free to contact us. No previous experience is necessary as we provide training on all aspects of our work, including handling old documents, palaeography (reading old handwriting), and IT skills. We welcome applications from all sections of the community and are keen to diversify our volunteer workforce.

Cornwall Record Office

Volunteers at CRO have the opportunity to experience a variety of tasks including transcribing documents or cataloguing collections. We currently have volunteers working on cataloguing borough records, extracting information from Poor Law records, and helping with document cleaning and packaging as part of our preservation programme.

When you apply we will consider your preferences and the current opportunities available and work with you to agree a placement plan which gives you the experience you are looking for. We offer a variety of placement structures, for example, if you would rather volunteer for one full week, or for one day a week for a year, we will try to accommodate this. Our dedicated volunteer training room can accommodate six volunteers and is equipped with computers. We can also provide volunteer opportunities working remotely from home, and longer block work placements subject to availability.

Cornish Studies Library

Volunteering opportunities at CSL include listing and filing photographs, indexing journals and manuscript material and assisting staff and individuals in carrying out research.  Recent volunteers have been involved in sorting shipwreck indexes and cataloguing maps.

Attendance patterns are flexible and staff will support individuals in carrying out specific projects or helping with day to day library activities.

Students who would like to find out what it might be like to work in a historic records environment can carry out a joint placement between the CSL and CRO.  We work in line with Cornwall Council's Work Experience Policy and procedures and aim to provide enjoyable learning opportunities.

Students are supported by members of staff with experience of working with young people. We plan activities to provide a taster of our work and offer guidance and support during the placement to help individuals get the most out of their practical experience and meet school expectations.

Please see the Council's Work Experience scheme for more details.

If you are applying for volunteering opportunities or work experience (and you are not aged between 14-18 and in full time education), please contact us for a volunteer application form.

Once we have received your application we will contact you to arrange a time for you to come and meet us, confirm whether we can offer a suitable opportunity and plan your placement.

Students in full time education

If you are aged between 14 and 18 years and would like to do your work experience with us you will need to apply through Cornwall Council's Work Experience scheme.

If you would like to find out more before you apply for a volunteer placement you can contact our Volunteer Coordinator for a chat.