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 Tuesday 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.

Adult Literacy Tutor

Since 1984, Second Start volunteers have provided vital tutoring services to adults who want to improve their basic reading and writing skills. The program matches volunteer tutors one-to-one with adult literacy students.

Tutors and students meet at libraries all over Oakland at times that are convenient for both the student and the tutor. Tutoring pairs focus on students' learning goals, and in the process, they make a wonderful difference in families, work places, and communities throughout Oakland.

Please note that 15 hours of training and a 6-month commitment are required for this program. Call Second Start at (510) 238-3432 or access the application online.

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 Eastmont Branch (7200 Bancroft, Suite 211). 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 Assistants

The Lakeview Branch (550 El Embarcadero) would like help to keep the litter and weeds out of the lovely garden boxes that surround the building, the Main Library (125 14th Street) needs volunteers to keep its container garden watered, and the Melrose Branch (4805 Foothill Boulevard) has a beautiful backyard whose flowers need care.  Please lend your green thumb to these libraries!

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

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 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.  Additional opportunities might develop, such as the coordination of seed saving workshops and/or seed swaps and the mentoring of new gardeners and seed savers.

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

Teen/Tween Video Game Day Assistant

We are searching for an adult volunteer to assist our Teen Librarian with the weekly Teen/Tween Video Game Day program at Eastmont Branch Library (7200 Bancroft, Suite 211).

This program is held every Thursday afternoon in our meeting room. Between 3:00-5:00 each week, the volunteer will help Library staff set up the room, maintain the players list, set out snacks and equipment. Most importantly, he/she will be another adult presence and behavior model for the kids.  A working knowledge of video games is a huge plus for this position!

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.