How You Can Volunteer at the Library

Adult volunteer with young patrons

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old for the following volunteer opportunities. Contact our Volunteer Services Coordinator or call 206-386-4664 to ask about volunteer openings and request an application. 

 

Volunteer Roles

Adult Tutor

Provide tutoring and encouragement for English language and adult basic education learners who are developing skills in conversational English, reading comprehension, writing and preparing for the U.S. Naturalization and GED tests. Volunteers tutor learners at the Central Library and the Broadview and Rainier Beach branches for at least six months.

Book Group Facilitator

We sponsor book discussion groups that meet once a month. Readers enjoy talking about books and their reading experiences. Volunteers prepare discussion questions, facilitate meetings and assist groups with selecting books. We ask for a six-month commitment.

Computer Instruction Assistant

Library staff instructors offer computer and tablet classes at the Central Library on weekdays. Volunteers help patrons who have with limited computer experience with learning activities during classes. We ask for a six-month commitment.

English Class Assistant

We offer English classes at the Central Library and the Beacon Hill, Northgate and South Park branches. Volunteers assist instructors with learning activities for English language learners. Activities are designed to help people develop speaking, listening, writing and reading skills. We ask for a six-month commitment.

Homework Helper

Homework Help volunteers support K-12 students’ academic success by helping them develop literacy and math skills, understand homework assignments and prepare for college. Volunteers tutor students in all subjects and may also specialize in high school subjects.

Most of the students are first-generation Americans who speak a language other than English at home. Volunteers provide Homework Help once a week when Seattle's public schools are in session. Those volunteers who have variable job and/or school schedules can be scheduled as substitute Homework Helpers at least twice a month. We ask for a commitment for the entire school year, September - June.

We ask that prospective volunteers submit their application in July for the new school year's Homework Help program. However, we accept applications throughout the school year as we continue to place volunteers.

Library Support Volunteer

Assist staff with providing a welcoming environment for patrons at the Library's programs. Provide operational support and help staff maintain attractive collections and displays. The responsibilities of each volunteer will vary, depending on interests, skills and availability. We ask for a three-month commitment.

Spanish Circle Facilitator

Our Spanish Circle program at the Central Library provides intermediate- and advanced-level Spanish language learners with opportunities to enhance their conversational skills in a social setting. Volunteers who are fluent in Spanish collaborate to plan and facilitate small group discussions on various topics. We ask for a six-month commitment.

Special Event Volunteer

We host a variety of events at the Central Library throughout the year, including author readings, film screenings, cultural programs, the Global Reading Challenge for elementary school students and other events for children. Friendly volunteers welcome patrons, distribute surveys, manage book-signing lines and assist staff with event logistics. We ask for a three-month commitment.

Story Time Assistant

Help children's librarians provide a fun and enjoyable environment for children at Story Time at Library branches. Assist with librarians with room set up and take down, welcoming families, singing songs and making crafts. Most of the Story Time programs are offered on weekday mornings. We ask for a four-month commitment.

Visitor Center Volunteer

Volunteer ambassadors welcome people to the Central Library and provide information about classes, events, exhibits and meetings in the library. They also offer tourist information and directions to downtown locations. Successful volunteers have public service and communication skills, familiarity with the library and Seattle, and compassion for people from all walks of life. We ask for a six-month commitment.

Volunteer: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find out if there are currently volunteer openings for adults?

You can call 206-386-4664 anytime to hear current openings. Because of considerable interest in volunteering at the Library, we are unable to place all interested volunteers. For other local volunteer opportunities, you can check these websites:

What is the time commitment for volunteering?

Many of our volunteer positions require a minimum commitment of three or six months. A typical shift is two hours once a week. If you are looking for a one-time volunteer opportunity, contact:

How do I complete court-mandated community service hours?

You cannot complete court-mandated hours at The Seattle Public Library, but you can fulfil this requirement at other local organizations, including:

How can I volunteer with the Friends of The Seattle Public Library?

The Friends of The Seattle Public Library is a nonprofit group that supports fundraising and advocacy on behalf of the Library. They offer volunteer positions at their book sales and in the FriendShop at the Central Library. Find out how to get involved with the Friends.

Can my group work on a service project with the Library?

We do not offer service projects for groups of volunteers. The following organizations offer volunteer opportunities for groups:

Where can I earn service learning hours for high school graduation?

We offer Learning Buddies and Teen Service Learning activities for high school students to make a positive impact in their communities and earn service learning hours for school. Check our Teen Service Learning page, speak with the Teen Services librarian at your local library or email us for more information.

I am a Library volunteer. How do I log my volunteer hours?

Current volunteers and teen service learners can log volunteer hours online.

If you have a question or need help, email our Volunteer Services Coordinator or call 206-386-4664.