Howard County Library System
Student Volunteer Page

student volunteer
Howard County Library System (HCLS) welcomes students who want to volunteer. Teen volunteers develop new skills and gain practical experience as well as learn about the HCLS educational mission and vision. We are looking for students who are mature, dependable, polite, and love HCLS.

Volunteer Opportunities 

Examples include:
  • Adopt a Shelf: This is a flexible volunteer opportunity for people who like to volunteer on their own schedule. Volunteers keep materials in order and shelves neat. Volunteers adopt a subject area that is of personal interest and maintain its order, accessibility, and appearance. This opportunity is ideal for corporate groups, families (at least middle school age and older), and individuals.
  • Customer Service: Support the Customer Service Department by sorting and shelving returned materials.
  • Summer Reading Club (13 & 14 year olds): Encourage children to participate in the Summer Reading Game, greet children and help them enroll, and distribute prizes.
  • HCLS Project Literacy Tutor: Provide adult basic education tutoring on a one-to-one basis.
  • Enchanted Garden: Assist with this innovative, outdoor educational environment at HCLS' Miller Branch.
  • Signature Events: Provide assistance at HCLS' signature events. Duties may include set-up and/or breakdown, working the registration table, greeting customers and other tasks as assigned. This would be on an as-needed basis and therefore a volunteer position that would work well for individuals unable to commit on a regular basis.
  • HiTech Volunteer: HiTech, HCLS' STEM Digital Media Lab for teens, centers on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).If you are interested in volunteering for HiTech, please fill out this questionnaire.

Qualifications and Skills:

Student volunteers typically must be able to commit to a minimum of two hours per week for at least three months. Student volunteers must be at least 13 years old to volunteer at HCLS. Anyone under 16 must have parental permission.

Key skills include:
  • Flexibility - willingness to perform a variety of projects and tasks.
  • Communication and listening skills - willingness to ask questions if tasks are unclear.
  • Dependability - willingness to complete assigned tasks and fulfill volunteer commitment.
  • Ability to follow instructions, work independently, and focus on fairly detailed tasks.
  • Ability to work cooperatively as a team with other volunteers and staff members.
  • Respect for diverse lifestyles, cultures, religions, and values.

Service Learning Hours may be available for middle and high school students who volunteer. Students are responsible for checking with their school to verify that their hours will qualify. If you have any questions pertaining to HCLS' volunteer program, please contact HR Specialist & Volunteer Coordinator Mary Murbach ( or 410.313.7750).

Application Process and Orientation

A limited number of volunteer positions are available for teens each year. Students are advised to apply early in the school year, by completing a volunteer application. The volunteer coordinator will interview applicants and provide an orientation to HCLS. 

Thank you for your interest in volunteering for Howard County Library System. Due to an overwhelming response, we are no longer accepting applications. Please check back in September.Applications are available online.

Summer Reading Game Volunteer

Younger students can help in a number of ways during the summer:
  • Encourage children to participate in the Summer Reading Club.
  • Greet children and help them register for the Summer Reading Club.
  • Distribute prizes.
  • Assist HCLS Children's Instructors by preparing materials for classes.

Summer Reading Volunteer applications are accepted in all HCLS branches from March 1 through June 15. Applicants will be contacted and scheduled for an orientation at the location of their first choice. The number of positions at each branch is limited, and varies from branch to branch.

Qualifications for Summer Reading Volunteers

Summer Reading Volunteers must:

  • Be at least 13 years old.
  • Enjoy working with children.
  • Possess a friendly and outgoing disposition.
  • Follow directions.
  • Exhibit independence.
  • Demonstrate respect for diverse lifestyles, cultures, religions, and values.
  • Be willing to complete assigned tasks and fulfill volunteer commitment.
Welcome Volunteers