There are so many ways to run a teen advisory group. Do you wing it? Have an agenda? Officers? How much do you allow them to do? Here are how some of the TSU Agents run their group.
Andrea: My TAG is pretty laid back. No officers or anything like that. I usually come in with an agenda and try to get through what we can, which is usually most of it. The things I bring to them are program ideas, social media, books I’m on the fence about ordering, and Summer Reading. I also throw out any new ideas for the department to make sure it’s worthwhile. Essentially, I use them as my sounding boards and allow them to share any ideas or thoughts that they have about the library as a whole.
Molly: My Teen Advisory Board seems to be changing all the time, and I’ve learned to just roll with it. I’m kind of at the mercy of their schedules and after-school activities, not to mention whether or not they have a ride. We are in a rural area and it’s difficult for some kids to get to the library. One thing I recently started doing is giving teens community service hours for attending meetings. They can also earn hours for attending other teen programs if they are members of TAB, as a “perk” of membership. This has helped get more teens in the door and I have no problem “paying” them with service hours if it means I have teens at my programs! As for what we do at meetings, I usually have an agenda of some kind that I try to post online beforehand, which usually includes talking to them about programs they want, books, displays in the teen space, etc. I try to have a few back-up plans like an activity or a game. We always have some kind of snack, too!
Casey: My Advisory Board is a mix of Molly and Andrea. No officers and mostly planning programs, but some other things, we do a lot about summer. I do offer community service hours but most of the teens don’t need it. All of my programs really are from them at this point and it definitely helps with attendance at most programs. We meet once a month generally on the third Wednesday but at a later time than programs usually are. I generally get the same kids most months.