Program Opportunities

Volunteers power our reading and writing programs for more than 5,000 students each year. If you’re interested in working directly with youth and have daytime weekday availability (during school hours), these are the opportunities for you!

Program Details
Reading BuddiesBe an enthusiastic reading coach for 1-2 elementary students.Select schools across the city.Twice-weekly, on weekdays, during the school year. Commit for an entire semester.
ReadThenWriteHelp guide a teenage author through book discussion, memoir-writing, and the editing process, then celebrate their published work at the end of the program.Select schools across the city.Twice-weekly, on weekdays, during the school year. Commit for an entire session (8-16 weeks).
Creative Writing WorkshopsHelp young authors turn their life experiences into prose, poetry, and slam poetry.Open Books West Loop.Two-hour sessions on weekday mornings, year-round. Sign up as your schedule permits.
Publishing AcademyJoin a teenage author for the magical journey from blank page to published novel, providing encouragement and editing along the way.Open Books West Loop.Three mornings a week during a summer session (4 weeks). Commit for the entire session.

Store Opportunities

Many of our programs are supported by the sale of donated books in our two retail locations. Volunteers sort, scan, and shelve books, then help shoppers of all ages find the perfect ones to take home. If you only have evening and weekend availability, these opportunities might be perfect. Please note that our bookstore programs are in high demand, but let us know if you’re interested!

Store Details
West Loop651 W. Lake St.
Chicago, IL 60661
Various shifts during regular store hours (Mon - Sat 9 am - 7 pm, Sun Noon - 6 pm).Sign up for the shifts your schedule permits.
Pilsen905 W. 19th St.
Chicago, IL 60608
Various shifts during regular store hours (Wed - Sun 10 am - 4 pm) and warehouse hours (Mon - Fri 9 am - 4 pm)Sign up for the shifts your schedule permits.

Other Opportunities

Don’t see a fit yet? Throughout the year, we have additional volunteer opportunities for one-off events, office help, and remote support. Come to orientation and get on the list for more information on these roles as they arise.

Interested in creating an ongoing partnership between Open Books and your company or organization? Please reach out to our Executive Director, Tim O’Brien at 312.475.1355 x116 or [email protected]

Our incredible corps of talented volunteers make everything we do possible. Whether you want to help middle-schoolers write slam poetry, become a reading partner to an eager-to-learn 2nd grader, or surround yourself with piled-high bookshelves in our two retail locations, we can’t wait to meet you and find the perfect match.


 Getting started as a volunteer is simple!

  1. Fill out the quick Volunteer Interest Form below.
  2. RSVP for an upcoming Info Session and learn about our current opportunities.
  3. Complete a background check and attend a program-specific orientation.
  4. Get volunteering!


Volunteer Interest Form

Fill out my online form.

If you’re interested in working directly with students and taking on some added responsibility, Literacy Internships are also available!
Learn more and apply now.