Throughout the year, teens in my branch come in, check out their things, and leave. Not many hang out in our teen area, maybe because our other branch has a way cooler teen room. Our stats show that they like our collection, but programming-wise, the numbers are never there. This is why I love summer. We see more teens during the summer than at any other time, and they all want to volunteer.
This year we’ve had to turn away teens and send them to other branches because, for once in as long as I can remember, we’re fully staffed with teen volunteers. They run our Summer Reading Club table and completely take care of registration, logs, and handing out prizes. We pull them into help with programs, especially ones where we need another set of hands. We’re getting another problem, though. We have so many teen volunteers that we don’t know what to do with all of them, and the natives get restless during the slow time of the day. We’ve had to get creative in coming up with things for them to do.
When we have more than two teens at the SRC table, and it’s slow, we’ve given them tasks like entering the SRC forms into our tracker software, or labeling the many, many, many pieces of our early literacy station activities. They shelve and straighten and pick up in-house, but we don’t want them doing that all the time (mostly because we don’t like doing it all the time either). They help set up for programs, especially ones that have crafts, but when all of this is finished, there’s nothing left. A lot of them are happy to read at the SRC table until someone needs help. Others are more…boisterous, shall we say, and when they don’t have a task, they’re getting into trouble.
Does anyone else have the problem of too many volunteers and not enough to do? Leave your solutions in the comments!