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.

CD Clean-Up Project

Temescal Branch (5205 Telegraph Avenue) needs help with switching out old CD cases and some relabeling duties.  This project will likely begin mid-June and the total time required is approximately 12 hours.

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

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)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. (6833 International Blvd)

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

Party Helper (May 27, 2017)

Come help the Golden Gate Branch (5606 San Pablo Avenue) host a block party in our parking lot, on Saturday May 27.  The party will run from 1:00-4:00, but we can use help anytime between noon and 5:00 p.m. There will be free BBQ, games and entertainment, plus neighborhood organizations will be tabling. 

Volunteers would help with setting up (tables & chairs, balloons, etc.), games, assisting guests, refilling napkins/paper plates/cups, and cleaning up afterwards. We would LOVE to find people willing to offer their skills, like face painting, bubbles, balloon animals, taking photos, leading a craft program, etc. in addition to the general help described above.

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


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.

Summer Lunch Volunteers

Free Summer Lunch in the Library (for youth ages 18 and under) begins on June 12th and runs through the first week of August.  This terrific service would not be possible without volunteers who help set up lunch, pass out food, greet the children, and clean up afterwards.  If you can help out for at least 4 lunchtimes over the summer (and more, if possible), please consider joining the Food Bank’s team of Summer Lunch heroes!

All volunteers (even repeat) must attend a 1-1/2 hour training at the Alameda County Community Food Bank, located at 7900 Edgewater Drive, in Oakland, to learn the new rules and logistics. Volunteers must be at least seniors in high school.  Training sessions are being held 5/31, 6/1, and 6/2.  To sign up, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/summer-lunch-volunteer-training-tickets-34009950678

The volunteer shifts are Tuesday-Friday at all locations except Main & Eastmont (which are Monday-Friday).  Lunches will be served and volunteers will be needed at the following locations:

  • 81st Avenue Branch (1021 81st Avenue)
  • César E. Chávez Branch (3301 East 12th Street, Suite 271)
  • Eastmont Branch (7200 Bancroft, Suite 211)
  • Elmhurst Branch (1427 88th Avenue)
  • Golden Gate (5606 San Pablo Avenue)
  • Main Library (125 14th Street)
  • Melrose (4805 Foothill Blvd.)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. (6833 International Blvd)

Sign up for a training session through the link above.  If you have any questions, please contact Alameda County Community Food Bank at summerlunch@accfb.org

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

Would you like to help local Veterans? There are a wide range of benefits people earn through military service, but it can often be difficult for veterans to complete application processes or even understand what they are entitled to.

We are seeking volunteers to help staff our Veterans Resource Center, located in the Main Library (125 14th Street). 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.  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 learn more or to apply, please complete an OPL volunteer application and send it to sdubois@oaklandlibrary.org.