Volunteer Services

Volunteering at the Free Library of Philadelphia is a rewarding and fun experience. We have many opportunities at Parkway Central Library as well as all neighborhood library locations throughout the city.

Our volunteers help us with special events; assist Philadelphia's New Americans gain familiarity with a new language by acting as a English Language Facilitator; help departments maintain their collections; provide senior citizens with one-on-one with computer assistance; and help to shelve both new and returned material.

To join our team of Library-loving volunteers you should:

  • Be least 14 years of age.
  • Be available to volunteer at least 1–3 hours a week for at least 2–3 months. (Some evening, Saturday, and short-term opportunities are available — See below.)
  • Have the ability to work alone or with others (other volunteers, staff, or patrons).
To help make a difference at the Free Library, please print out a Volunteer Application and return it to:
Volunteer Services Program
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
You can also email us the form at volunteer@freelibrary.org

Once you return the completed application, we will contact you and schedule an interview to discuss your interests and volunteer options.

Volunteer Opportunities

Seasonal

If you are unable to commit to volunteering for our suggested 2–3 month window, a seasonal volunteer position might be right for you! Available positions change throughout the year and are listed in our Volunteer Opportunities.

At Parkway Central Library

Parkway Central Library, the hub of the 54-location Free Library system, has a number of particular projects in need of volunteers.

  • Collection Care Assistant
    Volunteers are needed to help various departments maintain material within their collections. This might include cataloging, sorting and cleaning items in the collection.
  • English Language Facilitator
    Volunteers are needed to assist non-native speakers become more familiar with English in a small group setting. After a English Conversation Group training, volunteers hold weekly classes in neighborhood libraries throughout the city. Commitment is 6-8 weekly class meetings.
  • Senior Computer Tutor
    A tutor, with a strong knowledge of computers and technology, is needed to assist senior citizens in building their computer skills. The tutor helps access information and answers questions in a one-on-one setting.
  • Shelving Volunteers
    With its vast collection of books, DVDs, and audiobooks, Parkway Central is in need of detail-oriented volunteers to assist in restocking new and returned material.
  • Tour Guide
    The Volunteer Services Program equips and trains volunteer tour guides with the information and skills to lead tours of the historic Parkway Central Library. The subjects covered in the training will include past, present, and future aspects of the infrastructure and organization of the Free Library of Philadelphia; current services being offered; highlights from the departments and special collections; the art and architecture of the building. Upon completion of training tour guides are expected to commit to 2 tours a month for a period of one year.

Young Volunteers

Students in grades 7–12 can lend their helping hands to the Free Library, too! We have many opportunities for students in the following areas: Shelving, Clerical Aide and Teen Book Critic.

Masters of Library and Information Science Internships

Interested Graduate students can enhance their educational program of study with a wide variety of opportunities that can be experienced volunteering in a large urban public library setting. For more information about unpaid internships with The Free Library, please contact The Office of Public Service Support at 215-686-5372 or via email at internships@freelibrary.org

Corporate / Group

  • Author Events Series Volunteers
    The Author Events Series offer Philadelphians a chance to get close to and personally hear some of the greatest literary lights of our time, including in recent years Nicholas Kristof, Cornel West, Anne Rice, Chip Kidd, Anne Lamott, and more. Lecture event volunteers greet and seat patrons prior to events, assist with microphones during Q&A sessions, and help with post-event author signings in the Main Lobby.
  • Gadget Gurus
    Support the Free Library of Philadelphia's commitment to digital literacy by volunteering as a Gadget Guru at the E-Gadget Helpdesk. The E-Gadget Helpdesk, located in the lobby of the Parkway Central Library, provides the public with individualized support on how to use e-readers and tablets or offer instruction on how to explore and download materials from the Free Library's extensive digital collections, including e-books, audiobooks, music, and more.
  • Job Readiness Computer Tutor
    The Job Readiness Center provides one-on-one assistance from the qualified Center staff who aid customers in preparing for interviews, connecting with GED and English Language Learning (ELL) courses, and utilizing job search resources. Work in a computer lab with library customers (one-on-one and in small groups) in preparing resumes, establishing email accounts, and navigating the Internet to career postings.
  • Library and Community Beautification
    The Free Library of Philadelphia has 54 physical locations throughout the City. There are occasionally opportunities to complete landscaping and beautification projects at these locations, positively impacting library users and the entire community.

Group volunteers are welcome at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Please call the Volunteer Office at 215-686-5340 for additional information.

In the City of Philadelphia

This user-friendly website is the perfect place for Philadelphians of all ages to find volunteer opportunities that match their skills and interests. It is also an ideal resource for non-profit organizations, community groups and block-captains who want to recruit volunteers throughout the year.

The Free Library of Philadelphia requires all volunteers over the age of 18 to obtain a PA State Police Background Check and PA Child Abuse History Clearance. More information will be provided to you in your volunteer interview. Do not proceed in obtaining these documents until you have been interviewed by a Free Library Community Engagement and Volunteer Services staff member.

Please view our Child Abuse Clearances Process and Requirements for further information.

Connect with Volunteer Services

Questions? Contact Volunteer Services Program at 215-686-5340 or email at volunteer@freelibrary.org. Please print out a Volunteer Application and return to Volunteer Services Program, 1901 Vine St, Philadelphia, PA.