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The desire to make a difference. That’s the common attribute of those who give their time to the GFO. As an all-volunteer organization, with no paid workers, we would love to have your help!

Just fill out the Volunteer form here or download the Volunteer form (PDF)  and send it to us at:

GFO - Volunteer
2505 S.E. 11th Ave., Suite B-18
Portland, OR 97202-1061

Did you know . . . 

  • Some jobs can be done in the comfort of your home?
  • Assignments can be tailored to suit your schedule?
  • Every hour you volunteer is like a donation of $23.07 to the Forum?
  • You meet the nicest people when you volunteer?
  • You may choose one (or more) of the jobs on this form, or you may create your own!

A few of the volunteer opportunities available:

Library Receptionists and Research Assistants

Purpose: To staff the research library and to provide assistance to patrons and callers.

Responsibility:  Greet and assist members and visitors who come to our library. Collect payments for surplus book sales; copying and printing; past due books, new and renewing membership applications; and donations. Answer the telephone and re-shelve books. Keep the research area clean, neat, and stocked with supplies.

Training:  Training is provided by an experienced volunteer, and two volunteers are scheduled for every shift. 

Time Commitment:  From as little as four hours a month to as much as time as you are willing to give, most volunteers sign up for a regular shift of 4-6 hours a week or every other week. Most shifts are from 9 am--1 p.m. and 1 p.m.--5 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays are 9:00 a.m.--3:30 p.m.; Sundays are noon--to 5 p.m.; Wednesday evening hours include 5-8 p.m..

Training Presentations:  Short presentations for research assistants describing the library collections, catalog and how to use different equipment are available.  As you learn about our collection, you will likely discover resources that will help you further your own research.

Work Parties - Every Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to noon (except holidays or when other events are scheduled) and for special sessions from time to time, we need volunteers to help on special projects.

Other Volunteer Opportunities

Book Cataloging — Enter newly donated and already classified books into the new catalog. We will train you. The perk is being first to see the interesting books coming into the library. You can set your own hours; as little or as much time as you are able to give is a wonderful contribution to the library. Use either the computer in the workroom or we can set up your laptop so you can work anywhere in the library. Email Sarah Holmes or call the GFO at 503-963-1932.

Book Sales — This is an ongoing project. Training is provided and procedural “cheat sheets” are available. Once a week or once a month, the day and time are up to you and may fluctuate once you are trained. Basic computer skills are all that is needed. Email Laurie Eckman or call the GFO at 503-963-1932.

Membership Data Entry — A detail-oriented person with data entry experience is needed to help, 1-3 hours per week, processing membership applications. Email the Membership or call the GFO at 503-963-1932.

Data Extraction — Ongoing projects that could use your help:

  • Historic Columbian Cemetery extraction project: The GFO has been working on the records of this cemetery. Proofreaders are needed for the extracted records.
  • Work at the GFO on Multnomah County Marriages, books of newspaper clippings, and books of Oregon biographies. [Excel or Open Office is used for the worksheets]
  • Work at home from scanned images of Portland birth ledgers, scrapbooks, obituaries, church cards, or newspaper clippings. [Excel or Open Office required].
  • Scanning boxes of items so our volunteers at home can do the data extraction. Scanning is easy and training is provided.

Email Loretta Welsh or call the GFO at 503-963-1932.

Manuscripts — Organize, create finding aids, and scan personal papers and manuscripts donated over the years to make these collections available to researchers. Once trained, volunteers can work independently to process an entire collection or choose one step, such as organizing or scanning. We are most in need of scanners right now. Email our Manuscripts Department or call the GFO at 503-963-1932.

Print Shop — An additional person is needed for backup in the print shop to help print brochures, letters, the Bulletin, the Insider, etc. Email Loretta Welsh or call the GFO at 503-963-1932.

This is just a sampling of some of the current needs. If you don’t see something listed that you would like to do, let us know. We need your help!

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