Volunteers are an important part of the Newberry Library, dedicating thousands of hours annually to the Newberry’s collection, projects, and activities. If you are interested in volunteering, please look over the roles listed below and fill out a Volunteer Application.
We are actively recruiting volunteer to assist Newberry staff in various locations throughout the library. The majority of volunteer roles are public facing and focused on making the Newberry more engaging and accessible to the public. Volunteer training is held regularly.
Greeters are friendly, outgoing individuals who enjoy engaging with the public and helping people feel welcomed at the Newberry. Greeters will assist guests in wayfinding and provide information about the Newberry’s research, collections, and programs. They also answer incoming phone calls and maintain the greeter desk. Volunteers are needed Monday - Saturday. This is a primarily seated position, but requires some movement throughout the lobby.
Herget Welcome Center
The Herget Welcome Center is where individuals register for readers cards, talk to library staff, and begin their research journeys at the Newberry. Welcome Center volunteers are passionate about sharing the Newberry’s unique collection with the public. The ability to engage diverse audiences is important. Volunteers work alongside library staff to provide guests with information about how to use the Newberry’s collection and register for reader’s cards. They also maintain the Welcome Center space, assist guests in navigating the online catalog, promote Newberry events, and answer phone calls. Volunteers are needed Tuesday - Saturday. This is a primarily seated position, but requires some movement throughout the Welcome Center.
The Newberry’s Rosenberg Bookshop in the Newberry Library is looking for volunteers with retail experience to assist in maintaining merchandise, handling sales, assisting clients, and taking special orders. A love of bookshops, books, and working with the public are important. Volunteers are needed Tuesday - Saturday. Volunteers will need to be able to move throughout the bookshop and comfortable engaging with a diverse range of customers.
Building Tour Docents
Docents take guests throughout the Newberry’s five story building, showcasing the history of the Newberry family, the building, and the collections. This position is ideal for people who enjoy engaging through storytelling and can connect with a diverse range of guests. Public tours are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3 pm and Saturdays at 10:30. Docents also assist with private tours for school and community groups. The Newberry is especially in need of docents who are available for weekday tours. Docents will need to be able to stand and move around the library for at least an hour.
Public Programs Volunteers
The Newberry produces around 60 free public programs each year, with formats ranging from lectures and panel discussions to workshops, children’s programs, and music, dance, and theater performances. Volunteers who enjoy working with the public, are flexible, and skilled at working with diverse audiences are ideal. Volunteers are generally needed starting one hour before a program begins until one hour after a program concludes. Programs are generally held in the evenings Tuesday-Thursday and during the day on Saturday. A benefit to volunteering is the ability to also attend the programs. A list of upcoming programs can be found here.
The Newberry Colloquium is a weekly program on Wednesdays at 4 pm. The Newberry community and the public come together to learn about research or projects being conducted by our staff, fellows, scholars-in-residence, and other invited speakers. Volunteers are needed from 3 pm - 5:30 pm to assist with getting the room ready, preparing refreshments, and breaking down after the event. A benefit to volunteering is getting to attend the colloquium and interface with our diverse community of academics. Volunteers interested in academia and assisting staff are ideal.
Book Fair Volunteers
The Newberry Book Fair requires hundreds of volunteers each summer. It is a great way to get to know the Newberry and participate in one of the nation’s largest used book fairs. Find out more about Book Fair Volunteering.
Other Volunteer Opportunities
Other areas of the Newberry often need volunteers to assist with administrative work, research, and a variety of other tasks. Volunteer opportunities vary based on projects and staff needs. New openings will be posted on this page.
If you have questions or would like more information about volunteering at the Newberry, contact Rebecca Haynes, Manager of Volunteers, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 255-3526.
For information on internships please visit our internship page.