Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the Oakland Public Library (OPL)! This page lists current adult volunteer opportunities with OPL and some of our Friends groups. Teen volunteers (ages 13-17) can find more information on the Teen Volunteer page.
Summer Lunch Volunteers: The Oakland Public Library is recruiting volunteers for Summer Lunch at the Library, which takes place May 30-August 4, 2023. This important service provides a free, healthy meal to youth ages 18 and under at the following library locations on Monday-Friday over the summer: 81st Avenue Branch, opens a new window, César E. Chávez Branch, opens a new window, Eastmont Branch, opens a new window, Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch, opens a new window, Melrose Branch, opens a new window, and the Main Library., opens a new window
It would not be possible without volunteers (ages 18+) who help set up lunch, pass out food, greet the children and parents, and clean up afterwards. Volunteers serve between 11:45am – 1:15pm for at least four (4) lunchtimes over the summer. Please note that lunch service is only offered on weekdays. Training is required for new and returning volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering this summer, or if you have any questions, please email email@example.com. New volunteers will be asked to complete a volunteer application.
Seed Packaging at the Main Library. Thanks to a grant, the Oakland Public Library purchased a large quantity of vegetable and herb seeds in bulk, but now we need to package these seeds into single-use envelopes that can be shared more easily at OPL seed libraries. This work will require fine motor skills and attention to detail. Volunteers are needed to help with this effort on Saturday, June 10 and Saturday, June 24 from 1:00-3:00 pm at the Main Library. We’re aiming for a volunteer team of no more than five people each day, so please email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up. Please indicate which day(s) you’d like to volunteer.
Bilingual (English/Spanish) Computer Tutors at the César E. Chávez Branch (3301 East 12th Street, Suite 271)
Share your skills as a Computer Tutor at the César E. Chávez Branch, opens a new window! Help patrons set up Zoom and email accounts, assist with Internet searches, filling out online forms, using Microsoft Word and Google Suite, printing, etc. Successful computer tutors are patient, punctual, and reliable, have good communication skills, and enjoy working with others. Bilingual English/Spanish language skills are not required but would be a huge plus.
Volunteers are asked to commit to a regular 2-hour shift, once/week for at least six months. The following days/times are currently available:
- Saturdays, any 2-hour shift between 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Sundays, any 2-hour shift between 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Tuesdays, 5:00 – 7:00 pm or 5:30 - 7:30 pm
- Wednesdays, 5:00 – 7:00 pm or 5:30 - 7:30 pm
To apply, please complete the OPL volunteer application.
Computer Tutors at the Main Library (125 14th Street). Make a difference in our community by volunteering as a Computer Tutor at the Main Library! Duties includes helping patrons one-on-one with basic computer skills, including: setting up Zoom and email accounts, assisting with Internet searches, filling out online forms, using Microsoft Word and Google Suite, printing, etc. Teaching experience is highly desirable but not required. Please plan on a regular 2-hour weekly commitment for at least six months. The following shifts are available:
- Mondays, 5:00-7:00 pm
- Tuesdays, 12:00-2:00 pm and 5:00-7:00 pm
- Wednesdays, 5:00-7:00 pm
- Thursdays, 5:00-7:00 pm
If you are patient, punctual, and reliable, have good communication skills, and enjoy working with others, please complete the OPL volunteer application., opens a new window
Garden Volunteer at the Chávez Branch: The César E. Chávez Branch, opens a new window (3301 East 12th Street, Suite 271) is looking for an expert gardener who can help maintain container garden on the library’s sunny courtyard patio, opens a new window. The library seeks a garden volunteer who is experienced with watering, pruning, weeding, and planting gardens. Please plan to volunteer 1.5-2 hours weekly or biweekly, to be coordinated with the librarian’s schedule: Sundays or Mondays (between 10:00 am – 4:00 pm) or Tuesdays (11:30 am – 3:30 pm.) Sundays are preferred. To apply, please complete the OPL volunteer application, opens a new window.
Garden Volunteer at the King Branch: The Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch Library, opens a new window (6833 International Blvd.) is looking for a knowledgeable and experienced gardener who can help maintain 2-container garden and adjacent border garden directly outside the library’s front door. (See photos here, opens a new window.) The library seeks a volunteer who can plan, plant, prune, and develop a watering schedule for the items grown in these containers. Applicants should feel comfortable working independently while also keeping library staff informed about what’s being planted, as well as any opportunities for other volunteers to help with watering or weeding. The ideal candidate will also have the patience to deal with common urban gardening challenges (disease, pests, and occasional vandalism.) To apply, please complete the OPL volunteer application, opens a new window.
Second Start Adult Literacy Tutors: Second Start has offered free and confidential learning support for adults since 1984. Adult learners meet one-on-one with volunteer tutors who help them reach their literacy goals. We have opportunities for tutoring in reading, writing, ESOL, computer skills, math, form-filling, and more. We have an orientation and training that can be completed online and are here to support you through your volunteer commitment.
Second Start tutoring pairs typically meet once or twice a week for an hour or more. Our tutoring space is on the second floor of the Main Library, and tutors and learners can meet at library branches throughout Oakland. Tutors spend at least two hours per week tutoring, preparing lessons, and communicating with our staff and their learner. We ask that tutors commit at least 6 months to the program.
Tutors should possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills. For more information, visit https://oaklandlibrary.org/adult-literacy/. To apply, please complete the OPL volunteer application, opens a new window.
Adopt A Spot volunteer: Through the Oakland Adopt A Spot program, the City of Oakland Public Works Agency provides a unique opportunity for individuals 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. Does your library already have an Adopt a Spot crew? Come out and help on the following regular cleanup days:
- The African American Museum and Library at Oakland (1427 88th Avenue): 10:30 am - 1:30 pm on the 4th Sunday of each month, weather permitting. Visit the Friends-Stewards of AAMLO, opens a new window for more details.
- Elmhurst Branch (1427 88th Avenue): 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month from 9:15-10:15 a.m. In addition to picking up litter, this group also does light gardening as needed.
- Main Library (125 14th Street): every Monday (except for holidays and rainy days) from 8:30-9:30 a.m., starting outside the Children's Room on Oak Street. RSVP to email@example.com to ensure equipment is available for your use.
Books for Wider Horizons: Do you love reading to kids, and want to foster a lifelong love of reading in children? OPL's Books for Wider Horizons, opens a new window program 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 am-3 pm.) A required, 7-session training series is offered each fall for new volunteers. For 2023 training information and registration, visit the Books for Wider Horizons, opens a new window page.
Opportunities with Library Friends Groups
- The Friends of the Oakland Public Library exists to support the Oakland Public Library and the broader Oakland community. Do you have any skills or talent the Friends of the OPL can tap to support the Library? Perhaps you have experience or interest in social media, advocacy work or fundraising? To learn more or apply, visit this page.
- Bookmark Bookstore weekend volunteers: The Friends of the Oakland Public Library are currently seeking volunteers to help out at the Friends' bookstore, the Bookmark, located in Old Oakland. Volunteers assist with a variety of tasks during a 3-hour shift, including: receiving, unpacking and pricing donations; shelving new books and culling old stock; keeping sections alphabetized; general store upkeep, signing up new Members, and ringing up book sales. As a bonus, volunteers get a 50% discount on all books! To learn more or apply, visit this page.
- Social Media Coordinator: The Friends of the Piedmont Avenue Library, opens a new window are looking for a Social Media Coordinator. View the position description here, opens a new window.
If you have any questions about these volunteer opportunities, please contact Sara DuBois, Coordinator of Grants & Volunteers, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-238-6572.