Volunteer at the Library

Learn more about getting involved:

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

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.

Applications are closed for the 2019-2020 school year. Our next training will take place in the fall of 2020, for volunteering during the 2020-2021 school year.

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 Tutors

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)
  • Lakeview Branch (550 El Embarcardero)

  • Main Library (125 14th Street)

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




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. 
  • Membership in the Friends of the OPL is a requirement for board service.
  • Term limits: None

To apply, send email and cover letter to the Friends president at pres@fopl.org 



Garden Assistant at Lakeview Branch

Show your support for the library by helping the Lakeview Branch (550 El Embarcardero) maintain its lovely garden. We are looking for a dedicated individual to monitor and work on the site at least once/week for a minimum of 6 months. If you live near Lake Merritt and love your library, this is the opportunity for you!  The new volunteer would work in association with a current volunteer who has gardened at this site the past five years.  Tasks typically involve weeding, pruning, and light litter removal, and also occasionally involve planting and watering.

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 rromo@oaklandlibrary.org. 



Makers and Doers Needed by the Friends of the Tool Lending Library

Did you know that the Oakland Tool Lending Library has more than 5,000 tools that residents of Oakland, Emeryville and Piedmont can borrow for free with their library card? This valuable resource supports do-it-yourselfers with the right tools for woodworking, lawn and garden maintenance, home repairs and renovations, art and jewelry-making, bike repair, and more.  If you want to support this fantastic community asset, come join us! The Friends of the Oakland Tool Lending Library is looking for more dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers.

We organize special workshops (carpentry, plumbing, bike repair, chain saw use, electrical and more), raise money by selling donated tools, refurbish tools for the library and the tool sales, do outreach in schools and at community events, advocate for more resources and a larger space for the Tool Lending Library, and (you guessed it) more.

To connect with the Friends of the Tool Lending Library, please email sdubois@oaklandlibrary.org or visit their website at www.FOTLL.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.



Teen Advisory Groups

Several library locations have Teen Advisory Groups that are currently accepting teen members.  These groups provide teen volunteers the opportunity to gain leadership skills, support their local library, and speak up about the issues that matter to them, making their libraries a better place for themselves and other teens.  Contact each branch directly, as described on the Teen Advisory Group page.



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

We are seeking volunteers to help staff our Veterans Resource Center, located in the Main Library. You will work directly with patrons who have served in the US Military (or their families), helping them improve their lives by enrolling in benefits and services. You will also have the chance to promote the program at community outreach events. No prior knowledge of resources is required; the library will provide training. This is an excellent opportunity for veterans to be of service to their community, but anyone is welcome to volunteer.

Volunteers will ideally be scheduled for a weekly 2 hour shift and will be able to commit to a minimum of six months.

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



Youth Leadership Council

The Youth Leadership Council is a youth-driven advisory board for Oakland Public Library. Together, they help the library improve its service to young people, and promote library access and enjoyment among our city's diverse residents.  YLC members (ages 13-18) gain communication and public speaking skills, self-confidence, leadership experience, ins and outs of event planning, and friends! Directly interact with high level community leaders and participate in local and national functions. Eat! And much more.  Information on how to join can be found on the Youth Leadership Council page.