My library has seen a surge of interest in volunteering lately, and we’re looking for ways to balance the number of people who’d like to volunteer with the energy and staff time it takes to manage a good volunteer program. We see lots of teens who have been assigned volunteer service as part of a probation agreement with the courts, and with the tight job market, some teens who can’t find work are searching for alternatives to gain experience that could land them a job in the future.
One of the challenges we face is giving teens tasks that are meaningful yet don’t involve an intensive amount of training from staff. What are your favorite volunteer tasks for teens? How do you handle training and orientation? For many teens, a volunteer job at the library is their first experience with a professional work environment. How can we help prepare teens for their first paid job?