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 8:30-9:30 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.

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 Docent at Elmhurst Branch and Main Library

Computer docents are needed at the Elmhurst Branch (1427 88th Avenue) and the Main Library (125 14th Street).  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, etc. Various shifts are available; all require a 2-hour weekly commitment for at least 3 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.

To apply, please complete an OPL volunteer application and submit to: Sara DuBois, Oakland Main Library, 125 14th St., Oakland 94612. Please note: Applications for the position at the Main Library must be received on or before Monday, October 5 in order to be eligible for the next orientation session (to be held Thursday, October 15 from 6:00-7:00 p.m.)  This orientation session – required for all new computer docents at this location – will be cancelled or rescheduled if there aren’t at least five registered applicants by 10/6/15.  Applications and orientation for volunteers at the Elmhurst Branch will be accepted and scheduled on a continual basis.

Garden Assistant at the Elmhurst Branch

Come make our new vegetable garden at the Elmhurst Branch (1427 88th Avenue) a success!  Volunteer responsibilities include weeding, watering, and planting as needed in our backyard garden.  We’re looking for volunteers 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.

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.

Preschool Story Reader

Do you love reading to kids, and want to foster a lifelong love of reading in children?  Books for Wider Horizons, a program of the Oakland Public Library, offers a unique volunteer opportunity: to read aloud to children at Head Start centers and other partnering preschools throughout the city. Volunteers present a weekly 30-minute storytime to children ages 3, 4, and 5. The goal of our program is to extend the reach of the Oakland Public Library, introducing children to the pleasure of stories and creating excitement about books and reading. 

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. 

Pre-registration for the training is necessary.  (Contact Rochelle at the email or phone number below.) All trainings take place at the Rockridge Branch Library at 5366 College Avenue in Oakland.

2015 Preschool Story Reader Training Dates (volunteers must attend all seven dates):

  • Tuesday, September 22, 6-8:15 pm               
  • Wednesday, September 23, 6-8:15 pm             
  • Thursday, September 24, 6-8:15 pm  `          
  • Tuesday, October 6, 6-8:15 pm                     
  • Wednesday, October 7, 6-8:15 pm                
  • Thursday, October 8, 6-8:15 pm                    
  • Saturday, October 10, 10 am-5 pm                                       

Call (510) 238-7453 or e-mail Rochelle Venuto at rvenuto@oaklandlibrary.org for more information or to register for the training.

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.

Veterans Benefits Coach

The Oakland Public Library is launching a new program to make a real impact in the lives of our veterans. Help us accomplish this goal by volunteering 3 hours/week to staff a Veterans Resource Station at the Main Library.  You will serve as point of contact to ensure that veterans and veteran families of every era know how to get connected to the state and federal benefits and services they have earned through military service.

 Volunteers should be interested in helping veterans and their families. They should have patience and empathy, as well as good listening and interpersonal skills.  Veterans are encouraged to apply.  The library will provide substantial training to all potential volunteers.  If interested, please complete an OPL volunteer application and send it to sdubois@oaklandlibrary.org.