Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Chicago, no in-person volunteer opportunities are currently available. If you are interested in assisting the Newberry digitally, you can volunteer on our crowd sourcing transcription projects and/or on our digital postcard tagging project. If you are interested in our regular volunteer opportunities you can fill out a Volunteer Application, but please note that it will continue be some time before in-person volunteering resumes.
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. This is a primarily seated position, but requires some movement throughout the lobby. Volunteers are needed Tuesday - Saturday from 9 am - 5 pm.
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. This is a primarily seated position, but requires some movement throughout the Welcome Center. Volunteers are needed Tuesday - Saturday from 10 am - 5 pm, with extended hours until 7 pm on Wednesday.
The 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 be comfortable engaging with a diverse range of customers.
Docents take guests on tours of the Newberry building and of our current temporary exhibitions. This position is ideal for people who enjoy engaging through storytelling and can connect with a diverse range of guests. Public building tours are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3 pm and Saturdays at 10:30. Exhibition tour times vary depending on exhibitions. Docents also assist with private tours for school and community groups. 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.
Book Fair Volunteers
Find out more about Book Fair Volunteering.
Other Volunteer Opportunities
Other areas of the Newberry sometimes 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.