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.

Arabic Language Outreach Assistant

The West Oakland Branch (1801 Adeline Street) strives to better serve its growing community of Arabic-speaking patrons, and has recently increased its collection of children’s books in Arabic.  The Children’s Librarian is seeking a volunteer to help her improve signage and flyers in Arabic, and to teach her a simple song or rhyme in Arabic which she could include in her storytimes. 

 The ideal volunteer will be able to help out 1-2 hours per week, but the timing is flexible and a one-time visit would also be appreciated.  To apply, please complete an OPL volunteer application and submit to: Sara DuBois, Oakland Main Library, 125 14th St., Oakland, CA 94612. 



Books for Wider Horizons

Do you love reading to kids, and want to foster a lifelong love of reading in children?  Books for Wider Horizons offers a unique volunteer opportunity: to read aloud to children at Head Start centers and other partnering preschools throughout Oakland. Volunteers present a weekly 20-25 minute storytime to a classroom of children ages 3, 4, and 5. Storytimes take place during school hours (weekdays, generally 9 a.m.-3 p.m.).  The required training series takes place annually during the fall.

In the free training sessions, participants learn how to present entertaining, engaging storytimes.  Volunteers must attend all seven training sessions, and we ask for a six-month commitment from our volunteers.

Registration for the 2018-2019 school year is closed.  Our next training and volunteer placement will take place in the fall of 2019.

For more information, 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.

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 patient, 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)
  • Main Library (125 14th Street): this location needs volunteers for daytime shifts Mon-Thurs; one evening shift Wednesdays 6:00-8:00; and daytime shifts on Saturdays 

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



Flyering Team

The Oakland Public Library (OPL) has 18 locations, each with its own full calendar of programs each month.  OPL staff advertise these free events with calendar listings, paper flyers, social media, and emails – or a combination of these methods.  We would like to launch a new volunteer initiative to help us spread the word about some of our programs – Job Fairs, ESL clubs, Veterans Services, etc. – and would love to assemble a team of volunteers to pound the pavement and distribute program flyers to local merchants and public bulletin boards for display (and to collect them after the event is over).

To help us create this volunteer initiative in way that best serves the library, volunteers, and the community, please contact Sara DuBois at sdubois@oaklandlibrary.org or 510-238-6572. 

Friends of the Oakland Public Library

The nonprofit Friends of the Oakland Public Library is looking to expand its board, and is actively recruiting for diverse candidates.  

  •  Skill sets: Fund-raising. Event-planning. Membership development.
  •  Leadership opportunities include serving as president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, and committee chairs.  
  •  Member activities include planning events, editing and laying out quarterly newsletter, seeking fund-raising and outreach opportunities, and seeking ways to grow   membership/donations. 
  •  Meets every other month on first Wednesday (5:15 p.m.) at the Main Library, with additional monthly committee meetings/activity as needed.
  •  Board members are expected to participate in at least one committee. 
  •  Term limits: None

To apply, send email and cover letter to FOPL president, Kathryn Sterbenc, at pres@fopl.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 (LAC)

The City of Oakland's LAC provides mandated citizen oversight of Measure Q (existing parcel tax funding OPL). May also provide oversight for new Measure D parcel tax, but this is not yet confirmed. Other missions: Advise City Council and Library Administration as needed on service-delivery issues. Advocate for OPL funding.

The LAC is seeking diverse new members with one or more of these skill sets: Financial literacy. Budget monitoring. Advocacy.

The LAC meets on the last Monday of each month at 5:15 at Main Library.

To learn more, call 510-238-3281 or email OPLAdvocates@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.