Be a volunteer


If you are available to donate your time to our book sales or projects, the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA) would appreciate your help. We rely on a team of more than 300 volunteers to run our bookstores, sit on our Board of Directors, sort books, and otherwise help us perform our work as a fundraising friends group.

We raise over $250,000 for the Ottawa Public Library annually, with most funds coming from the operation of used bookstores, self-serve bookshelves in library branches, and specialty book sales run by volunteers. We are lucky to have an incredible team of dedicated, passionate volunteers who want to give back to the libraries that they love.

If you’d like to join our team, contact us or fill out an application and we can talk about how you can help. Email us at 


Friends' Bookstores and Book Sales

Most of the Friends sort, shelve, and sell donated books at our stores and special sales.

Our first bookshop opened in 1984 in downtown Ottawa. Our Friends’ Volunteer Bookstores are operated by local committees that report to the FOPLA Board of Directors and are located all over the city of Ottawa. 

Self-Serve Ongoing Book Sales are located in many branches of the Ottawa Public Library that cannot accommodate a bookstore. All processing, sorting, stocking, shelving, and banking are done by the Friends, and Library staff collect payment for books during regular library hours.

The Friends hold two types of Specialty Book Sales. The Monthly Mammoth Used Book Sale is held at the James Bartleman Archives and Library Materials Centre; we also sell collectibles and rare books at two of our bookstores.

Local Committees

Local committee representatives communicate with each other and act as a liaison between board members and bookstore managers. They share ideas, plans, and successes, and oversee the bookstores in their districts.

Board members

The Friends’ Board of Directors carries out and coordinates advocacy efforts, performs financial services for Local Committees, and allocates funds raised towards any activity or program that it deems appropriate.

The Friends’ Board of Directors is currently comprised of the following:

Please let us know if you’d like to share your expertise.

Donate Now Through!

“I love working with the other volunteers. We take pride in managing our community’s Friends store, and we get a boost when we see how much money we’ve raised for the library.”

“Why do I volunteer with the Friends? I wanted to volunteer somewhere for a few hours each week… and I love books!”

Volunteer applications: Volunteer Handbook