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 30-minute storytime to a classroom of children ages 3, 4, and 5. Storytimes take place during school hours (weekdays, generally 9 am-3 pm).  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. All trainings take place at the Rockridge Branch Library at 5366 College Avenue. This year, the dates will be the evenings of October 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, and 19 (all of these from 6-8 pm), and then a full day October 28th (10 am-5 pm).  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.

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:

  • César E. Chávez Branch (3301 East 12th Street, Suite 271) –Spanish and/or Mam-language skills required
  • Elmhurst Branch (1427 88th Avenue)

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

Fix-It Clinic Coaches

Fixit Clinic is a "pop-up" activity where people bring their broken things to disassemble: many participants have never attempted opening up something before, and often special tools are necessary to get inside.  People bring their broken, non-functioning things -- electronics, appliances, computers, toys, bicycles, sewing machines, fabric items, etc.-- for assessment, disassembly, and -- hopefully -- repair.

The Asian Branch (388 9th Street) plans to start hosting these clinics on Saturday afternoons in June (1:00-4:00), and we are seeking volunteer Fixit Coaches to help guide people through the disassembly & fixing process.  If you are handy – with tools, electronics, sewing, etc. – please consider signing up to help! 

For more information, please contact Sara DuBois at sdubois@oaklandlibrary.org or 510-238-6572. Or signup online at goo.gl/kwVNlv (be sure to check the option “CA-Oakland (Asian Branch, Oakland Public Library).”

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.  

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

Meal/Snack Assistants

Thanks to Children's Empowerment, an approved sponsor for the Child and Adult Care Food Program, a number of OPL branch libraries are able to distribute food to youth after school.  We’re looking for volunteers for the following locations/times to help OPL staff with set up, food distribution, and clean up.  Candidates should be at least 16 years old and be willing to serve food (no experience is necessary).  A three-month commitment to serve at least one day each week is required.

  • 81st Avenue (1021 81st Avenue):  Tuesdays/Thursdays – 3:45-5:00 pm and  Wednesdays 1:45-5:00 pm
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. (6833 International Blvd):  Tuesdays/Thursdays 2:45-4:00 pm and Wednesdays/Fridays 1:15-2:30 pm 

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

If aged 18 or older: OPL volunteer application

If aged 16 or 17:  OPL Teen application

Photographers

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.