Teen Summer Interns @ Charles Ralph Holland Memorial Library: Dollar General Grant Winner

As a part of the Summer Reading Program at the Charles Ralph Holland Memorial Library, five local teenagers were chosen as interns for the purpose of assisting the staff of the library in an effort to make this year’s Summer Reading Programming bigger and better than ever.   Our summer interns worked hard assisting staff members every Thursday during the Summer Reading Program doing things such as preparing the craft and helping children with their crafts, setting up games outside the library, being present as chaperones to the children as they played with Legos and Minecraft in different areas of the library, and assisting in handing out meals provided by the ETHRA Summer Food Program.  Once the program had concluded for the day, the teen interns would assist staff around the library with things such as breaking down sets, cleaning up, assisting patrons, and shelving library books.  Two of the interns worked outdoors on helping plant the library’s community garden and paint the ‘Patron Pantry’ that holds donated canned foods, school supplies, and hygienic items.  Another two teen interns updated our social media sites and tweeted out all of our events.  You can catch these pictures and hash tags on Twitter and Facebook.  The last intern resurfaced all of the library’s damaged DVDs and helped staff organize teen event supplies. 

Some of the teen interns had volunteered at the library before, but most were unaware of all the work that goes into running children’s programming and maintaining a library. Our interns gained skills in customer service by working daily with both adults and children.  Each teen intern got to actively participate in engaging young people while being pulled in multiple directions by energetic children.  The interns helped kids build Legos, play games, and read children’s stories aloud. They even helped record the events by taking turns as event photographer. Without them I feel many of the precious moments during the summer would have been lost. A few of the interns expressed interest in pursuing a career in working with children and found helpful that the internship provided hands on experience in dealing with children. I feel the internship presented the teens with the opportunity to learn whether a public service job interested them and educated them on the role of the library in a community.

On the last day of the summer intern program, the five teenagers were asked to take part in an interview that allowed them to answer questions about their time at the library.  One of the questions that asked was, “What was your favorite experience during the summer?”  Every teen responded with “being with the kids” as one of their favorite.  They loved crafting and reading to our summer readers and we know everyone enjoyed their company.  Teens handed in evaluations to help the library better cater future programming. The teen summer interns were provided with a stipend for all their services during the summer.  Funding from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and the Young Adult Library Services Association made the Teen Summer Intern Program possible. The hard work and determinations of teens selected for awards made the 2017 Charles Ralph Holland Memorial Library Summer Reading Program a huge success by breaking all previous records recorded by library staff in programming and attendance.

Hello, my Name is Kathrine Chalman, and I’ve served as director of the Charles Ralph Holland Memorial Library since July 2015. Having earned a Masters of Information Science Degree from the University of Tennessee, and started a number of library programs for teens, children, and adults this year, including a Story Time for Kids, Teen Board Game Night, Coffee and Coloring, and Young Adult Book Club. I recently taught a basic coding course at the local high school and am eager to share ideas and learn new programming methods.  With the completion of the library’s 2017 Summer Reading Program, I plan to start additional teen programming, including art and more coding courses. The Charles Ralph Holland Memorial Library 2017 Summer Reading Program set record breaking numbers in both attendance, community partnerships, and programming outreach.

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