Volunteer at the Library

Volunteer Opportunities

Please note that some of these programs may have a full complement of volunteers at this time. For more information, or to put your name on a list of interested library volunteers, please contact Sara DuBois, Coordinator, Grants & Volunteers, at (510) 238-6572 or sdubois@oaklandlibrary.org

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 

Computer docents are needed at the Elmhurst Branch (1427 88th Avenue) and the Main Library (125 14th St.). Make a difference by helping patrons with basic computer skills such as setting up an email address, learning how to use word processing, completing on-line applications, etc.

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

Garden Assistant

The Elmhurst Branch (1427 88th Avenue) has just built a new vegetable garden in its lovely backyard.  We have the space, the plants, and the enthusiasm, but we're all garden novices and need your expertise!  If you can visit the branch twice weekly for at least six months to provide guidance, water, and weed, we’d greatly appreciate your help.  To apply, please complete an OPL volunteer application and submit to: Sara DuBois, Oakland Main Library, 125 14th St., Oakland 94612.

Knitting Instructor

The Golden Gate Branch (5606 San Pablo Avenue) would like to host a knitting club every Saturday at 2:00 p.m., and we need a skilled and patient knitting expert on hand to help those who are just learning the craft.  If you can commit to two or more Saturdays each month, please consider joining us.  To apply, please complete an OPL volunteer application and send it to sdubois@oaklandlibrary.org.


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

Books for Wider Horizons is a program that recruits, trains, and places volunteer story readers in preschool or childcare centers throughout the City of Oakland. Call (510) 238-7453 or e-mail Rochelle Venuto at rvenuto@oaklandlibrary.org for more information or to request an application.

Please note that a 7-night training session (offered in the fall) is required for this program. Upon completion of the training, each participant agrees to prepare and present a weekly storytime at a partnering preschool site for at least 6 months.

Seed Library & Garden Assistant

Come join our free urban seed project – the Seed Library at 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.  Volunteers also get the chance to work in the wonderful container garden growing in our courtyard --  planting (as needed), weeding, and watering!

To apply, please send a completed OPL volunteer application to Sara DuBois, Oakland Main Library, 125 14th St., Oakland 94612.

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 in March to all potential volunteers.  If interested, please complete an OPL volunteer application and send it to sdubois@oaklandlibrary.org.