Teen Volunteers at the Library
Every summer, we’re swamped. Between carts of books to put away, summer reading sign ups, and program prep, we’re running around like crazed librarians. It’s Summer Reading at its finest and we love it. However, when you’re feeling overwhelmed and the carts start to stack up, things can feel out of control. This is where Teen Summer Volunteers come in.
Having teens volunteer at the library can be a great benefit to not only the library but also teens. At first, we thought we would just take anyone who wanted to volunteer could sign up and show up and we would give them work based on that day. Sometimes this worked and sometimes there was nothing for them to do. Then I got to thinking. Many teens in our area need the community hours for school and some just enjoy volunteering, but how could we have it benefit them more? That’s when we decided to treat volunteering over the summer more like a job, with an application process, schedules, and responsibilities.
By treating volunteering more like a job, it can help prepare teens for the future and help them gain a sense of responsibility for the work that they’re doing at the library. We’ve found that when they take it seriously, you get more out of them and they get more out of it!
We also have teens commit to their work by attending an orientation session and ask that they are able to volunteer for at least two “time slots” over the summer. We continue to support our volunteers throughout the summer with extra training and will even add responsibilities as they continue to succeed.
Teen volunteers can be a huge asset to your summer. It not only helps the community but it could potentially create a Teen Activity Board and it allows teens to discover all the library has to offer them. If you’re struggling to get teen volunteers into your library, we’ve found that reaching out to school counselors and other organizations such as United Way are great ways to find teens who are looking to serve in their community.
Why should teens volunteer at the library?
- Volunteering is a great way for teens to get out into their community and discover what the library can do for them.
- Volunteering can help foster and develop leadership skills.
- Volunteering looks great on college applications and job applications.
- Volunteering helps teens gain job experience for later on in life.
Do you have a teen volunteer crew for the summer? What have you found that works and doesn’t work? Let us know in the comments below!