Volunteering | Newberry


Newberry volunteers work at Book Fair.

Newberry volunteers assist in everything from special catalog duties to preparing for the Book Fair.

Newberry volunteers work to bring the amazing stories of our collections, exhibitions, and programs to life for the public. The majority of our volunteer opportunities are public-facing roles that allow volunteers to engage with diverse audiences and help welcome more people into the Newberry community. If you are interested in Volunteering, please fill out a Volunteer Application.

If you have questions, please contact Rebecca Haynes, Manager of Volunteers, at haynesr@newberry.org or (312) 255-3526.


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. Ideal volunteers are comfortable talking to people, sharing information, and problem solving. The ability to engage diverse audiences is important. This is a primarily seated position, but requires some movement throughout the lobby. Volunteers work various shifts Tuesday – Saturday from 10 am – 4 pm.

Public Programs

The Newberry offers dozens of public programs every year to engage the public with our mission. Volunteers help check people in, assist in set-up and breakdown and help keep the events running smoothly. Most public programs take place in the evenings Tuesday – Thursday and during the day on Saturdays.

Bookshop Volunteers

The Rosenberg Bookshop in the Newberry Library is a unique store that features books and gifts related to the Newberry’s collection. Volunteers assist in merchandising, handling sales, and assisting clients. A love of bookshops, books, and working with the public are important. Volunteers with retail experience are preferred. Volunteers work various shifts Wednesday – Saturday. Volunteers will need to be able to move throughout the bookshop occasionally and help move boxes. We are not currently recruiting for our bookshop.


Docents take guests on tours of the Newberry building and of exhibitions. This is a dynamic role for people who enjoy storytelling and connecting the public with the humanities. 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. Information about current tours can be found here. We are not currently recruiting for our docent program.

Book Fair Volunteers

Thanks to everyone who volunteered for the 2022 Book Fair. More information about the 2023 Book Fair will be available in the spring of 2023.

Virtual Volunteering

There are also ways to assist the Newberry virtually. Our Newberry transcribe website allows people to engage with historical letters and diaries, and help make them more accessible to the public. Our postcard tagging project allows volunteers to examine parts of our postcard collection and help make them more easily searchable for the public. There is no need to fill out a volunteer application for virtual volunteer projects, simply follow the link to get started.