Volunteer Opportunities


Alternatives to the Peace Corps: A Directory of Global Opportunities by Paul Blackhurst, Food First Books, 2005 (11th ed.).


How to Live Your Dream of Volunteering Overseas by Joseph Colins, Stefano DeZerega, and Zahara Heckscher, Penguin, 2002.


Volunteer Vacations: Short-term Adventures That Will Benefit You and Others by Bill McMillon, Doug Cutchins, and Anne Geissinger, Chcago Review Press, 2006 (9th ed.).


General Information & Review Sites


Abroad Reviews


A site that offers unbiased reviews of international programs.


Transitions Abroad: Volunteer Abroad Site


This site contains all sorts of information on overseas volunteer work. In particular, see 'websites for volunteering abroad'.



Volunteer Oranizations Sites


African Library Project

ALP partners with volunteers in African communities to create small libraries for schools and villages. They use US volunteers via the Peace Corp in Lesotho. They also need US based volunteers to organize book donation drives.


ALA International Donation and Shipment of Books

A wonderful way to become involved on an international level without having to leave home.  This ALA mainained site lists organizations who will accept books in good order.

ALA International Opportunities for Librarians

International opportunities and funding sources for librarians maintained by the IRRT International Exchange Committee.


Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF)

The CDF for the Galapagos Islands is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing scientific research, technical assistance, and information to ensure conservation success in the Galapagos. The station has a library manned by a volunteer librarian. The length of stay is six months but note that you must pay your own airfare and living expenses.

Cross-Cultural Solutions

CCS is a widely known international volunteering organization. They arrange for over 4,000 volunteer opportunities each year and support 250 sustainable community initiatives. x


Doctors without Borders

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization created by doctors and journalists in France in 1971. MSF needs people with library skills who are responsible for project bookkeeping, financial reporting, and human resources management for international and local staff.


Foundation for Sustainable Development

FSD's volunteer and insternship program is designed for professionals with sustantial work experience.  Volunteers act as consultants for their host organizations.  Placements are from 4-52 weeks with 9+ being encouraged.  Librarians are encouraged to apply (this information came via e-mail).

Global Aware

Globe Aware offers short-term volunteer programs in international environments that encourage people to immerse themselves in a unique way of giving back. Specifically for librarians they offer helping with the Mobile Libraries Project in Vietnam.  Catherine McMillan, Director of Communications, also mentioned an opportunity for setting up libraries with Dong Phuong College in Vietnam, distributing books in Laos, and running a community library in Guatemala.


Global Citizens Network

Linda Stuart, Executive Director, has written to say that GCN does have a program in Bukoba, Tanzania that offers ongoing support for a community education center and would be 'excellent for librarians'.

Global Volunteers This non-proft company has been training and sending volunteers to more than 20 countries for over 25 years. Senior volunteer coordinator, Anita Craig, wrote to say that librarians are needed for the Cook Islands program where they help to run the public library and national archives as well as school libraries. 

Independent Volunteers

Independent Volunteers was begun by a group of international volunteers as a network for independent groups that are involved in wonderful projects around the world. They list only list projects and organizations that charge no fees other than reasonable food and accommodation costs.To find library work search under Type of Work - Community Work.



Open Mind Projects

Open Mind Projects currently supports some 60 different aid and development projects where volunteers overseas are welcome. They claim to have lower fees than many other programs and recently added they have a need for volunteers who can help with IT support and learning as well as general admnistrative tasks.


Open Windows

Open Windows is a dynamic children’s educational center (library, computer center, and more) in the town of San Miguel Dueñas, ten miles (15km) from Antigua, Guatemala’s famous Spanish colonial city. They seek volunteer librarians who have at least a basic grasp of Spanish as well as libraries who will partner to create ‘sister libraries’.



Peaceworks mission is to help alleviate poverty and to promote peace through economic development partnerships and service around the world. Linda Jilk, Director of the Literacy Programs, says that there is a specific need for librarians in the following programs: Family Literacy in Belize, Young Author's Program in Malwai, and English Language Club in Vietnam and Russia.



Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad is a British-based organizer of overseas volunteer work placements. They offer 1-3 months projects around the globe.


SCI (Service Civil International)

SCI is a worldwide voluntary service organization and peace movement. International workcamps are central to SCI's work and take a variety of forms and very year about 5000 volunteers participate from 80 different countries.



Swiss-U.S. Librarian Exchange Opportunity

The Swiss Library Association (BBS) and the ALA International Relations Office (IRO) have work together since 1999 to help facilitate exchanges between librarians in the two countries.


Tanzanian Children's Fund

The TCF maintains an orphanange for marginalized Tanzanian children. They have established a school and Director India Howell wrote to say they need help developing the library and supporting literacy for the children. I personally know someone who has volunteered at the school and stated it was an enriching and wonderful experience.


United Nations Volunteers

The United Nations coordinates a volunteer group which includes professionals from various sectors who want to share their expertise with counterparts in developing countries.  Assignments range from 6-24 months. For those who cannot travel, there is also an Online Volunteering service that connects development organizations and volunteers over the Internet and supports their effective online collaboration.


United Planet

United Planet offers the Volunteer Abroad Quest program and attempts to provide a fulfilling experience for volunteers and valuable support for communities in need. Volunteers of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds are invited to join 1-52 week volunteer abroad programs in 50 countries worldwide.


VIA Programs was creatd at Stanford University in 1963 to foster increase VIA was created at Stanford University in 1963 to foster increased understanding between the United States and Asia through public service and programs promoting cross-cultural education. They provide volunteer opps and fellowships (for those between the ages of 18 and 75) in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, where volunteers may teach English or work with a local non-profit.


Volunteer Latin America

Volunteer Latin America is an independent and ethical organization committed to helping Latin America and to offering the most cost effective way to become a volunteer in Central and South America. They have related projects in community development, computers and technology.


Volunteer South America

Volunteer South America lists free and low-cost volunteer opportunities in South and Central America. The site is designed for independent travelers looking for a real volunteer experience abroad without paying any middle-man or agency fees.


Volunteers for Peace

VOP’s goal is to work toward a more peaceful world through the promotion of International Voluntary Service (IVS) projects, historically known as International Workcamps, and the exchange of volunteers. Their slogan is "affordable adventures Abroad for over 30 Years!"


VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas)

VSO is Britain’s premier volunteer agency. Americans are recruited through the VSO Canada site for both short and long-term placements.