Edinburgh's Radical Bookshop

Volunteers needed for First Date 2024!


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***the call for volunteers has now closed - thanks so much for your interest and your enthusiasm! if you got in touch by 20th May you'll have received an email to schedule the phone call :)***

Are YOU excited about romance fiction and our romance fiction festival FIRST DATE? Do you want to get involved behind the scenes?

First Date 2024 is on 14-15 June, so just a few weeks away! We could use a few extra hands to help our team make it extra special.

Our festivals involve a lot of logistics, welcoming authors and audiences, as well as setting up the space and taking books back to the bookshop after it’s all over. Volunteering is not terribly glamorous, but there will be ample opportunities to talk about romance novels, see and speak to visiting authors, and ultimately be an integral part of a community event for like-minded folk!

First things first - what's involved?

The main jobs at FIRST DATE 2024 are:

  • door welcome, keeping track of attendees & checking tickets for events
  • welcoming speakers and showing them around the venue
  • prepping the stage & signing tables for events
  • sanitising seating areas between events
  • running the odd errand to the bookshop (5 minutes from Summerhall)
  • being on hand to answer questions from visitors about books, toilets etc
  • Friday afternoon is unpacking and Saturday evening is packing (so some heavy lifting!)
  • Taking pictures for social media posts
  • Encouraging people to take part in events/zine/stalls
  • Stall maintenance -Tidying up/ reorganizing stacks of books as they get moved & browsed! Making sure publisher books stay grouped together/ finding event stock when needed.


Ideally we’d have you along for 3-4hours so that we can get you properly trained up and you can feel comfortable and useful in the space. Help is most needed at these times:

Fri 14th:

- 12:30-4:30pm Set up (this is quite labour intensive as it involves quite a few boxes! And if you can only help out on one shift then this would be super)

- 5:00- 8.30 Events, helping serve food and drinks at our Author Dinner.

Saturday 15th:

- 9:30am-1:30pm - setup for workshop, events, author signings

- 1:30-5:30pm - events, stall maintenance, author signings

- 5:15-8:30pm - events, stall maintenance, author signings, helping with taking down the festival

- 8-9pm Taking down the festival (this is quite labour intensive too and could also be a solo shift if you can only do one!)

But basically: we welcome your help at any point of the festival & prep time, 12-8:30pm on Friday 14th June and 9:30am-9:30pm on Saturday 15th June!

What we're offering:

First Date is entirely bookshop run without any outside funding which is why we operate on a shoestring and need a little extra help.

We offer volunteers 35% discount on all books through to the end of the year, as many ‘proof’ books as you like/can carry and a Lighthouse tote bag of your choice - and of course a free festival pass to all events at First Date!

Please note: masks are required at all times inside the venue, and all team members should take lateral flow tests before coming in (we can get you some if need be).

Last, but definitely not least (!!) we ask all our volunteers to read our Safe Spaces policy and commit to its standards of behaviour : https://lighthousebookshop.com/contact-faq#6 If you have any questions about it - just shout.

Does this sound like something you'd like to do?

If you’re tempted to volunteer, please send your details and the specifics of your availability (what shifts you can/can't do) to Christina at books@lighthousebookshop.com by 20th May.

Please include a phone number and availability in the last 2 weeks of May for a wee 5 minute phone chat. This is super informal, just to hear a little more about what kind of books you like, if any events or authors at the festival are of particular interest to you, if you have any special/unusual skills we can tap into.

If there are any access arrangements that will help you navigate the fair in comfort please don't hesitate to let us know! We’ll never expect you to do a task you aren’t comfortable with/feel capable of so please do be open with us and we can plan accordingly :D

Thanks in advance!

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