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!
|Reading Buddies||Be 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.|
|ReadThenWrite||Help 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 Workshops||Help 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 Academy||Join 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.|
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!
|West Loop||651 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.|
|Pilsen||905 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.|
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]
Have questions about volunteering? Let us know!
312.475.1355 x 119
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!
- Fill out the quick Info Session Signup form below.
- Come to the Info Session you chose and learn about our current opportunities.
- After you’re all informed, you’ll have the opportunity to attend an orientation for any (or all!) of our departments: Programs, West Loop, and Pilsen, while we perform a background check and get you all ready to go.
- Get volunteering!
Info Session Signup Form
Fill out my online form.