Two volunteers cleaning books at the Children's Book Bank.

Come volunteer with us! Enjoy our vibrant warehouse, build community, and help us make sure every child in Portland has access to quality books! During our 2 hour volunteer shifts, you will clean and restore community donated books which will later be distributed to local kids.

Our space is set up to allow social distancing and masks are required during the shift to ensure the safety of all our volunteers. Volunteers must be fully vaccinated or provide proof of medical exemption before entering the warehouse. 

For individuals and small groups (less than 6), head over to Hands On Greater Portland (www.handsonportland.org) to sign up for one of our volunteer shifts. 

Large and Corporate Group Volunteering

If you are interested in bringing a full group of 6 or more people (up to 14 people), please email bbrock@smartreading.org to schedule your group cleaning session. Scheduling for groups is always open and flexible on a rolling basis.

Other Opportunities

There are multiple ways to get involved with the Children’s Book Bank at SMART Reading—organize a book drive, check out some of the existing programs below, or contact bookbank@smartreading.org with your own ideas!

Book Clubs

Our one-time virtual Story Like Mine Book Clubs are fun, virtual bonding activities for corporate or community groups with 7 or more participants! Choose one of our inclusive books for the group and we’ll take a deep dive into illustration choices, content, themes, and tips on how to share the book with children in your lives.

You can support our Story Like Mine initiative by donating your books to us afterwards or sharing them with others!

Story Like Mine Book Clubs are available by appointment only. Please contact bbrock@smartreading.org for more information.

Donate Supplies

We need various materials to help us clean and restore books. Contact bbrock@smartreading.org if you are interested in helping with a supplies donation. Deliver or ship all supplies to 1915 NE 7th Avenue, Portland, OR 97212. 

Supplies wish list: 

Tote bags: Our minimum order is for 100 bags and costs $85. Please contact bbrock@smartreading.org if you would like to contribute to our bag fund.

Sew Tote Bags

Volunteer from home by sewing tote bags for book bundles! Check out our Tote Bag Instructable for easy instructions for all ages and levels of sewing experience.

Book Delivery Drivers

Help deliver books to local elementary schools and community organizations! This is a great role for volunteers with limited or inconsistent availability looking for a one-off opportunity. Requirements for this role are a car with storage space, a driver’s license, and car insurance. Drivers must be 21 or older. Lifting heavy items (book bundles in tote bags or boxes of chapter books) is not a requirement—if you can, that’s great, but if not we can accommodate! 

We usually schedule deliveries in the early afternoon (before 3PM) Mondays-Thursdays when schools are open. Sites sometimes offer to help transport books, but quite often you will do most or all of the lifting and transporting at the site (unless you require accommodations). We can provide a cart to help move items that will need to be returned at the end of the day. We are not currently able to offer reimbursements to volunteers for mileage. 

If you’re interested in this volunteer opportunity, please email rdonehey@smartreading.org to get scheduled!

What’s Your Talent?

Web design? Mural creation? Community organizing? We welcome your passion and skills! Please contact bbrock@smartreading.org to discuss how you can get involved.

Volunteering FAQs:

How do I sign up for a book cleaning session?

If you’d like to volunteer by yourself or with a small group of family, friends, or colleagues, please look for our volunteer opportunities posted on Hands On Greater Portland

If you’d like to bring 6 or more people in to volunteer, please email bbrock@smartreading.org to arrange a time. We can only take up to 15 volunteers per session.

What are your COVID protocols?

We are continuing to require everyone who enters the CBB warehouse to wear a face mask. We also require all volunteers to demonstrate proof of vaccination against COVID-19 by showing either a vaccine card or picture of their vaccine card at check in. 

During book cleaning sessions we run air purifiers, and we sanitize workstations between volunteer sessions.

Can I park in your parking lot?

Absolutely! Just remember that we do need room in our lot for folks stopping by with book donations, so please avoid double parking or parking in front of our door.

I love volunteering at CBB and would love to get more involved, what are the next steps?

That’s wonderful! There are a variety of ways you can engage. Please email bbrock@smartreading.org for more information.

My child loves books and really wants to volunteer, how can I make this happen?

Excellent! We love to see kids involved in their community and you can help your child as young as 10 engage with CBB in a variety of ways:

Sign up for one of our sessions posted to Hands On Greater Portland. Reserve your own special group for your child’s team, birthday or school community. Our volunteer model works best when adults and kids participate side by side. Please keep that in mind when building your group. 

Host a book drive in your community.

Volunteer from home by sewing tote bags for book bundles. Check out our Tote Bag Instructable for easy instructions for all ages and levels of sewing experience.

I’m a student, and I’ve been assigned service hours for school credit. What do I need to know before I contact your organization?

The very best way for you to complete your required hours is through our partnership with Hands On Greater Portland. Please look for our shifts on the Project Calendar under the tagline: Get Books To Kids.  

All students under 18 attending Hands On sessions will need to bring along youth waivers for both Hands On and the Children’s Book Bank at SMART Reading. If you are 15 or older, you will be able to sign up for these shifts and attend these sessions alone. If you are under 15, you will need to bring along an adult. 

You could also complete these hours by hosting a book drive in your community or sewing tote bags for book bundles. Check out our Tote Bag Instructable for easy instructions for all ages and levels of sewing experience.

We are not able to accommodate individual student volunteers outside of these opportunities.

Does my child need a waiver, and where can I find it?

You can find youth waivers for both the Book Bank and Hands On when you sign up through Hands On Portland.

I have court mandated service hours to complete. Can I complete these hours at the Children’s Book Bank at SMART Reading?

Absolutely! Individual volunteers are welcome to sign up for any of our shifts posted to Hands On Greater Portland.

I'm free for a few hours, can I come in?

We are unable to accommodate drop-in volunteering. It's important to ensure the quality of the books that we restore, and each volunteer receives cleaning instructions each time they attend.

Why was I asked to limit my team to 6 on Hands On Greater Portland?

We strive to cultivate an inclusive environment during the book cleaning sessions open to the larger community. Groups larger than 6 at these events quickly become the majority and can very unintentionally make others feel as if they’re intruding at the event. A size limit also very practically ensures that we have enough volunteers present at each shift to complete the necessary work in case something prevents an entire team from attending at the last minute.

I used to volunteer with my team of over 40 people, why am I now limited to 15?

We indeed used to be able to accommodate much larger groups. However, in the summer of 2019, we reorganized our warehouse, with the goal of increasing our capacity for books and expanding our volunteer experience. In the process, we had to sacrifice a bit of space that we used for book cleaning tables. We also have this in place to ensure social distancing in the warehouse.

Come check out the new space, and we promise that you’ll love it!    

Can you pack up books and supplies and bring a book cleaning event to my office?

We no longer offer offsite book cleaning sessions.

Can you come speak to my club or group?

We would be delighted to come speak if we can make it fit our schedule! Please reach out to bbrock@smartreading.org.

Would you like to table at our Volunteer Fair or Workplace Giving Fair?

We would be delighted to participate if we can make it fit our schedule. Please reach out to bbrock@smartreading.org with all the details.

I need my hours verified, what do I do?

Our volunteer group leaders are happy to sign your verification records at the end of each shift you attend. You can also print out your attendance records in your Hands On portal.

Can I bring an additional person to my Hands On session?

Everyone needs to be registered on Hands On Portland in order to attend. You can learn how to build a team or sign up for the wait-list here

Can I do a book drive along with my volunteer session?

Absolutely! Please give us a heads up before your session.

I don’t see a time that works for my group as an available option, what do I do?

All of our available options on the form are kept current. So if this happens, we would not be able to accommodate your request. We hope to host more shifts as we grow so please check back often.