volunteerAt any time we may or may not have openings for volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering for the Library – either at the Main Library or at the Northeast, Northwest, and Southeast Branches – check the descriptions of volunteer positions listed below.

As a public library we require all employees and volunteers to have the state required clearances as well as the training requirement for recognizing and reporting child abuse in Pennsylvania. Following are the links to complete the various clearances and training requirement.

   PA Criminal Background check:                 epatch.state.pa.us/Home.js

   FBI Fingerprint Criminal History:              uenroll.identogo.com
   (service code 1KG756)

   Recognizing & Reporting Child Abuse:     www.reportabusepa.pitt.edu

   PA Child Abuse Clearance:                          www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home

After completion of 30 volunteered hours the library will reimburse the out of pocket expense for clearances with proof of payment

If you find a position for which you are qualified, and have the necessary clearances, please fill out and submit the on-line application form. Otherwise, you may obtain a paper form from one of our locations and send it to:

Volunteer Coordinator
Reading Public Library
100 South Fifth Street
Reading, PA 19602

or contact her by email at: jxbressler@reading.lib.pa.us


Volunteer Positions

These are the positions that we currently have available to people wanting to donate some of their personal time and energy to help keep us going:

Shelf Reader

Do you enjoy detail work? Do you have a good knowledge of numbers? Are you patient? Are you a library user?

The characteristics mentioned above are those necessary to become a shelf reader at the Reading Public Library. A shelf reader is a person who is assigned to check the materials shelves in certain sections of the Library to make sure that everything is in its proper place. This is a very important job because if items are misplaced, patrons will be unable to find materials which are supposed to be on the shelves. Careful “reading” of the call numbers and knowledge of numerical sequence are required to make sure that the items are arranged correctly by the Dewey Decimal system.


Variety is the name of the game for volunteers who become multi-taskers. These volunteers will be responsible for many different tasks including but not limited to replacing books on the shelves, organizing games and craft materials, greeting patrons as they arrive, making copies, etc.

Because of the many different responsibilities, this position requires a commitment of at least six hours of volunteering per week, at a minimum.

Special Projects Floater

If you would like to volunteer but are unavailable on a regular basis, perhaps you should consider becoming a Special Projects Floater.

The Administration Department of the Library performs a variety of tasks which require help to complete. These include stuffing envelopes, cleaning books for distribution to Berks Encore, copying and collating documents, filing, organizing and cleaning the supply closet, creating materials for displays, filling the soda refrigerator and snack machine, and preparing materials for distribution.

Candidates must be available at a day’s notice and willing to spend as little as an hour or as many as three or four hours at each task. They should be fast learners with good language skills and careful with details.

Site Organizer

If you love making order out of chaos and have the patience to do the same things over and over each day, you will enjoy being a site organizer.

Because the Library and its Branches are home everyday to scores of children and young adults who engage in creative activities, we need someone to take the responsibility for putting away puzzles, games, books, and craft materials. The organizers will also straighten the books and other materials on the shelves as needed. In addition they will remain vigilant in order to keep the library site tidy and free of debris.

Materials Shelver

Do you love books? Are you a “details” person? Are you reliable, friendly, and able to work independently? Then you may be a good candidate to become a shelver at the Reading Public Library.

Shelvers are responsible for returning books, DVDs, and other materials to their assigned place on the library shelves, according to the Dewey Decimal system. You must be able to stand, bend, stretch, and wheel a loaded cart around the library; shelving materials requires stamina. But shelving also gives you the opportunity to peruse the shelves and discover dozens of wonderful items you might otherwise never have seen or heard of.

Maintenance Assistant

The responsibilities of the Library Maintenance team are varied. Included are

  • dusting bookshelves,
  • raking leaves and removing hedge trimmings,
  • careful vacuuming of sites, watering flowerbed plants, collecting trash and recycling,
  • cleaning outside the Main Library and Branches,
  • minor painting
  • and a variety of other duties.

Library Greeter

If you enjoy helping people and sharing information, consider becoming a library greeter. Greeters will be stationed immediately inside the turnstiles in the Main Library in order to greet patrons and help them with any questions or requests they might have. They will also be responsible to inform patrons of any special programs to be held in the near future–such as book discussions as well as ongoing programs such as the “Adopt-A-Book” program–and hand out flyers about those programs. In addition they should be able to direct patrons to the different materials sections and departments of the library.

Greeters are expected to be friendly and outgoing and familiar with the programs and policies of the Library. In addition they should be enthusiastic about the library and be a welcoming first presence for the patrons.

Homework Helper

This volunteer position requires a person who likes children and is available in late afternoons and early evening. The volunteer must be knowledgeable in typical elementary and middle school subjects such as English, math, history, and science. He or she will work with one or two students at a time as they work on their daily homework or special projects.

Patience and creativity are requirements as is dependability. Teaching or tutoring experience is a plus.

Computer Whiz

If you are an expert at navigating the wonderful world of computers, you could provide a great service to the Library and other patrons.

These volunteers will be available to assist patrons using the Internet or Microsoft Word. If possible, they might also help with instructional classes in writing resumes, using word processing programs, or surfing the web.

Patience and good speaking skills are required. Teaching experience is a plus.

This position is open only at the three Branches of RPL.

Chess Master

Chess becomes more and more popular every year in the U.S., and chess clubs are popping up all over. This position requires that the volunteer be an expert in chess and the ability to explain the basics and the strategies necessary to become a good player. Members of the chess club will be limited to children 17 and under.

Patience is required. Teaching experience is a plus.

This position is open only at the Southeast Branch.

Book Cleaner

As anyone who uses any library can tell you, book covers become soiled after a relatively short time. Cleaning the covers is an ongoing task which requires careful attention and regularity for someone who works carefully.

Cleaning the books is a very satisfying activity. It allows the volunteer to work on his or her own at a chosen pace and to explore the books as they are wiped clean. Though the cleaning is rather simple, it is also important and time consuming. It is a job which is never finished but must be continued to maintain the appearance each book.

Bilingual Storyteller

This volunteer position requires a person who is bilingual, likes children, and is available Saturday mornings or afternoons. He or she will read a story to bilingual children and then help them to do a craft related to the story.

Patience and creativity are requirements as is dependability. Experience telling stories and working with young children are pluses.


Necessary Qualities for All Positions

  • Willingness to learn new things
  • Attention to detail
  • Good organizational skills
  • Initiative
  • Enthusiasm
  • Legible handwriting
  • Team player


  • You must first fill out an application, which is available at the Circulation Desk of each Library Branch.
  • Other requirements include a criminal background check, a child abuse check, and an interview.
  • Once you have become a volunteer you will go through an orientation and receive instruction in how to perform your job.
  • Minimum requirement for this position is 3 hours per week.
  • Volunteers must be 18 years or older for this position.


  • Annual Celebration luncheon for volunteers
  • Small gift
  • Gift certificate for books awarded based on number of hours of service
  • Friendship and fellowship
  • Sense of accomplishment and pride