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The Big Idea was founded by a group of volunteers in 2001, and in the years that followed, hundreds of volunteers cycled through, each donating their time to help sustain the project that they felt was so important to the Pittsburgh area. In 2011, we closed the formerly open membership to the Big Idea collective in order to effectively transition to our new space and new business model. It was an intense year and a half of working long hours and taking great leaps of faith together, and now that we’ve completed the transition to a bigger space with a functioning cafe, we are happy to announce that we are again accepting volunteers!

There are now two ways to get involved as a volunteer at the new Big Idea Cooperative:

Come to us with an idea for a project that you would like to see happen in the space (or even out of the space and in the community). This could be some kind of event series, a free zine library, a compost pickup system, a construction project to benefit the space…really, it could be anything you can think of that might improve the space and our engagement with the community. You will become the bottomliner for making this project happen.

If you don’t have a specific project in mind but are open to helping out in any way that’s needed, we’ll keep you on call for tabling, event staffing, and any other projects that may come up.

Volunteers (of either sort) get 20% off books and 25% off cafe food on the day they volunteer, every time they volunteer.

If you would like to get involved as a volunteer, contact the Volunteer Coordinator at

We are also looking for new worker-owners to help us succeed in our exciting new location and cooperative model.
Wanna know more?

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