Teen Gives Back to Community at the Public Library of Silver City

For the summer of 2018, our library was approved for the YALSA/Dollar General Summer Teen Intern Grant. This was a wonderful opportunity for a lucky teen in our community to get broad experience working in a very busy but small public library. It was also great for our library to have a teen face for our summer reading program, not to mention the extra help in implementing all of our activities.

Historically our library has had a hard time reaching teenage patrons, but with an increased focus on improving the collection and opportunities for teen programs we are beginning to change that. Our intern for the summer, Logan, was a big help in not only engaging teenagers, but children of all ages.

Logan worked 16 hours a week gaining a thorough knowledge of how a small public library works and why it is valuable to the community. Over the summer Logan had the opportunity to learn from the different professional members of the staff to see what their job responsibilities are and why they enjoyed serving the community working in the Public Library. Logan was very helpful in setting up for programs, helping at the circulation and reference desks, and giving out prizes for the summer reading program. Logan’s biggest contributions were in helping us with our weekly crafts, makerspace, and library arcade.

One of my biggest goals for the internship was to show how fun and different a library can be compared to any preconceptions our intern might have had going into the program. I got that in spades. At some points during the summer I think both Logan and I were a little overwhelmed with the amount of kids attending our events.

In addition to helping out with our crafts and events, Logan documented a lot of the summer through photography that we could share with our library board and friends group. Showing these groups how popular our summer events are and how much fun everyone is having keeps us well funded for the summers to come.

At the end of the summer Logan filled out a survey about his experience in the teen intern program. He left only positive remarks. After his departure we still had a few programs to go before the start of the schoolyear. The participants asked for Logan by name but I told them that he had fulfilled his obligations for the program and would not be working at the library anymore. They were sad to see him go. It was good to see that he had made such a positive connection with the youth of the community.

Chris Baumgarn received his MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He has been the Children’s/Young Adult Librarian at the Public Library of Silver City for the last two years.

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