Volunteer at the Library

Volunteer Opportunities

AAMLO Volunteer

The African American Museum & Library at Oakland (AAMLO) is dedicated to the discovery, preservation, interpretation, and sharing of historical and cultural experiences of African Americans in California and the West for present and future generations. Call (510) 637-0200 to find out how you can help support AAMLO and its mission.

Adopt A Spot volunteer

Through the Oakland Adopt A Spot program, the City of Oakland Public Works Agency provides a unique opportunity for individuals (of all ages) and groups to play an active and ongoing role in cleaning, greening and beautifying parks, creeks, streets, and other public spaces - including libraries!

Public Works provides adopters with tools (on loan), debris pickup and technical assistance. Please note that a one-year commitment is required for this program. Review the Adopt a Spot Program Packet for an application and more detailed information. You can also contact an Adopt a Spot coordinator by phone at (510) 238-7630 or via e-mail at oaklandadoptaspot@oaklandnet.com.

Does your library already have an Adopt a Spot crew?  Come out and help on the following regular cleanup days:

  • Main Library (125 14th Street):  every Thursday from 9-10 a.m., starting outside the Children's Room on Oak Street.  Email sdubois@oaklandlibrary.org to confirm and to ensure extra supplies are on hand for your use.
  • Elmhurst Branch (1427 88th Avenue):  2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month from 10:15-11:30 a.m.

Books for Wider Horizons

Books for Wider Horizons trains volunteers in the art of creating engaging and fun preschool storytimes.  Our goal is to introduce children to the pleasure of stories, supporting early literacy development and nurturing the lifelong love of reading for young children. 

After completing our training (which takes place over six evenings and one full Saturday), our volunteers read aloud to children in partnering preschools throughout Oakland.  Each volunteer does a weekly 30-minute storytime at an assigned preschool.   Storytimes take place during school hours (weekdays, generally 9-3:00).  We ask for a 6-month commitment from our volunteers--the idea is that you will get to know a classroom of kids and their teachers, and develop a relationship with them.  As you get to know the kids, you will see how excited they are to have you visit them each week and share your love of reading! 

Our training takes place annually in the fall at the Rockridge Branch Library. The 2016 training dates will be the evenings of September 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, and 29 (all of these from 6-8 pm) and then a full day on October 1st.  Volunteers must attend all seven sessions.  

For more information or to register for our next training, please contact Rochelle Venuto, Books for Wider Horizons Coordinator, at rvenuto@oaklandlibrary.org, or 510-238-7453.

Bookstore Volunteer

Friends of the Oakland Public Library (FOPL) operates a used bookstore in Old Oakland. FOPL uses the money it raises through book sales and member donations to support library programs. FOPL welcomes donations of used books, volunteers to staff the bookstore, and new members. Please note that training and a 6-month commitment are required for bookstore volunteers.

Call (510) 444-0473 or stop in during open hours to check it out and submit a volunteer application.

Chess Club Assistants

Do you love the game of chess? Come share your skills and knowledge, and inspire others to love the game!  The Lakeview Branch and the César E. Chávez Branch each host chess clubs, and both are searching for a skilled and patient chess expert to help those who are just learning the game. If you are interested and available (check times for each location below),  please consider joining us at one of these fun and engaging community activities! 

  • The Lakeview Branch Chess Club (550 El Embarcadero) meets 1:00 p.m. -- 5:00 p.m. on the 3rd Saturday of each month.
  • The César E. Chávez Branch Chess Club (3301 E. 12th Street) meets 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. on one or more Saturdays each month (depending on volunteer availability).

To apply, please complete an OPL volunteer application and submit to: Sara DuBois, Oakland Main Library, 125 14th St., Oakland 94612. 

Computer Docents

Make a difference by helping patrons with basic computer skills such as setting up an email address, using word processing, completing on-line job applications, assisting with job searches, etc. Various shifts are available; all require a 2-hour weekly commitment for at least 6 months.  We're looking for volunteers who are punctual and reliable.  Applicants should have good communication skills and be able to work one-on-one with library patrons who need computer help.  The following locations are currently recruiting:

  • Elmhurst Branch (1427 88th Avenue)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch (6833 International Boulevard)

To apply, please complete an OPL volunteer application and submit to: Sara DuBois, Oakland Main Library, 125 14th St., Oakland 94612. 

Garden & Seed Library Assistant at the Chávez Branch

Come join our free urban seed project at the César E. Chávez Branch (3301 East 12th Street)!  Volunteer responsibilities include seed sorting, repacking, and organizing, as well as performing inventories of seeds and supplies. Other responsibilities include weeding, watering, and planting as needed in the courtyard garden.  Volunteers are asked to commit to helping out once each week for at least 3-6 months.

To apply, please submit an OPL volunteer application to sdubois@oaklandlibrary.org.

Greeter at the Main Library

Are you friendly, outgoing, and good with people?  If so, the Main Library (125 14th Street) could use your help as a volunteer greeter.

 Volunteer greeters are the welcoming face of the library – greeting and orienting users to the building, encouraging people to visit regularly, and helping patrons find the services they seek at the library.  Greeters also share library resources (maps, flyers, newsletters, schedules, etc.) and assist patrons with using the self-checkout machines.  Volunteers are asked to work at least one 2-hour shift per week, and – for most of the time – you will be on your feet, standing at the entrance and roaming the library. A six-month commitment is required.  Training will be provided.

To apply, please complete an OPL volunteer application and submit to: Sara DuBois, Oakland Main Library, 125 14th St., Oakland 94612.

Library Advisory Commission

Do you love libraries?  Do you understand the multiple roles they play in Oakland?  Do you find yourself telling friends, associates and complete strangers how vital it is to keep our public libraries strong?

If so, you could be our next library commissioner!

Join our 15-member group of citizen advocates for sustained and improved library services!

The LAC:

  • Makes recommendations to the library director regarding policy issues that affect public service.
  • Advocates at the city and state level for libraries.
  • Helps promote programs and services at individual branches.
  • Provides citizen oversight of Measure Q funding, which pays for our libraries.

To learn more, contact us at  510-673-2116 or to OaklandLAC@gmail.com


The Community Relations Department of the Oakland Public Library is looking for capable photographers to capture images at library events. We use these images in our Annual Report and for other promotional materials issued by the Library and City. Visual images are an important way for us to communicate the good things that are happening at the library.

The ideal photographer for OPL assignments will be experienced, thoughtful, respectful, friendly and ready to engage with the community.  Volunteer photographers should have a positive attitude towards the library and its patrons, come fully equipped (digital SLR equipment preferred), and be able to shoot in natural light when possible.

To apply, please complete an OPL volunteer application and submit to: Sara DuBois, Oakland Main Library, 125 14th St., Oakland 94612.  We’ll also need to look at samples of your work, so please be prepared to share a set of on-line or hard copy photos during the application process.

Teen Zone Volunteer

Join 30+ weekly teen volunteers in assisting with materials, programming and displays in the TeenZone, a unique, recreational (fun!) facility that is unlike any library space you've probably ever seen. Talk to Brian at the Teen Zone for more information, or call (510) 238-7332. We are usually full but we always take applications for our waiting list.