The Cabell County Public Library consists of 8 libraries scattered throughout Cabell County, West Virginia. For our 2017 Summer Reading Program, we provided vast programs for individuals of all ages. We had animal programs, engineering programs, art projects, book clubs, and more. It was definitely a fun and educational summer!
We were awarded the 2017 Summer Learning Resources Grants from YALSA and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to provide a teen internship program at all eight of our library locations.All interns worked five hours a day for one week in the summer.
We wanted our teen interns to learn a lot from their experience working at the library.Mainly we wanted them to:
Understand hierarchy of the workplace- what it means to be an employee reporting to a manager.
Learn about being a part of a team, working together to achieve goals and objectives, and ultimately building strong and supportive relationships with peers and adults.
Have experience in making their own decisions.
Know that it’s okay to make mistakes and try new things. We wanted to empower our teens through education.
Be motivated individuals who gained confidence, resiliency, and learned to trust themselves as individuals who are capable of giving back to their community and bettering themselves.
We were lucky to be chosen for the Dollar General Internship at the Spencer County Public Library.Dollar General paid 5 interns to work 25 hours during June, our busiest month. Our time flew by with all of the interns learning and improving.The program didn’t start out as I planned but we adapted and everyone got what they needed.
The candidates for internship attended four classes to help them be prepared to search for, apply to and keep a job. Some of the teens didn’t want to put forth the effort to do well in the class.A few of them said they were too tired to learn how to make a flyer or at another class they claimed to have made a resume in school, didn’t know where it was but did not feel compelled to make a new one.Others took notes and paid attention, asking great questions to get better prepared.
One of the main points I stressed during the classes and in all the advertising for the internship was the hours they would be required to work.I planned their hours to coincide with our busiest times of the week.A few teens came to me asking if they could work different hours. At the time I had lots of applicants and maybe too much confidence in their dedication so I told them the times were required, causing a few good candidates to drop out of the program.After we hired our five interns they each came to me with request about their schedules. One forgot that she had summer camp one week, another summer school; two had transportation difficulties and the last doctor appointments.We worked around their schedules, the work got done and I stressed that if this was in the “real world” they may be fired if they couldn’t work their schedule.
At Penn State, we have a summer program for students starting school as first-years in the fall. This program is known on campus as LEAP, Learning Edge Academic Program. Students move to campus, are paired up with a mentor, and take two classes. Generally, one of the classes will be a general education requirement class and the other will be an entry level major class.
The library has been involved with this program, mainly coordinating instruction sections and getting students introduced to their subject librarians. This summer, with a new coordinator in charge of the program, we decided to test out some new outreach ideas. Our hope was to increase the library’s exposure and encourage these soon-to-be first-year students to take advantage of our services before everyone came back for the fall.
Our first outreach item was to create an escape room experience as an orientation to the library. My colleague was inspired by a session she attended at LOEX 2017 where a library talked about how they had created one of their own. While we cannot lock students in a room, we can lock a box they have to unlock. This project took some work to create; we experienced our own escape room in State College, to get a better understanding of how this game works, we read books from others who had set up their own low tech escape room experience, and we created goals for the experience (students will find a book in the stacks using our library catalog, use one database, explore one of our LibGuides, and become more familiar with navigating the physical space of our building). With those goals we mind, we then had to write a story that would frame the adventure.
At Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, we have a year-round VolunTeen program that gives teens the opportunity to volunteer at any of our 20 branches to gain workforce development skills, while also earning community service hours.Part of our process involves applying and interviewing to become a volunteer each term because we want to better prepare teens for the real world.Our teens assist with various duties such as shelving, program prep and delivery, in addition to more specialized opportunities like being a reading buddy or a teen tutor.This year, we were also able to offer three paid internship positions this summer thanks to YALSA and Dollar General.
Upon receiving the Teen Summer Intern grant, we were able to work with three fantastic teens who took their VolunTeen position to the next level.As we require our interns to have previously volunteered with the library, they come in with a basic skill set that we can then build upon over the summer.This gives our teen interns a more focused approach, and also instills qualities that help them to become stronger leaders.We use our grant funds to invest in our teens by providing our interns with a stipend for their service over the summer.Not only do they serve as a VolunTeen at their home library branch alongside their peers, but they also intern at Main Library and ImaginOn for a more concentrated project.
This year, we had an intern working in Idea Box, which is our makerspace at Main Library.In addition to learning new equipment such as laser cutters and 3D printers, she also helped to brainstorm programming ideas about how we can develop community service programs for teens using Idea Box.During downtime, she also helped to create booklists and work on special projects when she was able because: “I enjoy being productive and trying out new things.”We also had a teen working on admin duties related to our Summer Break program at Main Library, which is our online summer learning program for all ages.Whether it was entering statistics, creating spreadsheets, or even reorganizing the collection, our intern was ready to help.Lastly, we had an intern in our Outreach Services department at ImaginOn assisting with checking-in our Storytime to Go kits, labeling and organizing program materials, and preparing literacy-based extension activities.
From the library’s perspective, we were able to have reliable, creative, and eager interns to assist us during a busy and hectic time of year.More importantly, we were able to help those teens develop essential skills and knowledge that they can continue to use and build upon as they grow.One of our interns said: “It’s really fun because I get to learn more about what the library does for different parts of the community and be a part of it!”All around, our interns are able to get a well-rounded experience that empowers them to be their best selves thanks to this grant.Participating in this program has been a wonderful experience for everyone involved and has positively contributed to our mission of improving lives and building a stronger community.
Holly Summers-Gil is the Teen Services Coordinator for Charlotte Mecklenburg Library where she has worked for the last 9 years.Her passion for serving teens still drives and inspires her work every day.
When I started thinking about posting about out summer intern experience, I began thinking about why we hire a summer intern.The obvious reason is that an intern fills the gaps for summer staff during our busiest time of the year.But, the summer intern experience is not really for us, the staff.We certainly benefit from having a teen here for the summer, but the summer intern experience is really meant for the teen.
So, how do we avoid just putting our teen to work, and instead give them an experience that could influence and direct their future?That’s not a question that I have a clear-cut answer for.While I’m sure that our summer intern spent lots of time just being put to work, I also know that our intern had a summer that shaped some of the choices that she will make for her future.
The range of activities that our summer intern participated in varied from checking books in and out, shelving, recording summer reading stats, helping with summer reading programs, creating summer reading craft projects, and developing promotional materials.All of those activities met our needs as a library during the busy summer reading program, and they helped shape the overall experience of our summer intern.
ALA has announced a competitive grant program, sponsored by Google, that will fund a cohort of 25-50 school and public libraries to design computational thinking and computer science programs for and with youth, including underrepresented youth. The grant application will open in late July. If you’d like to get notification when the application is open, sign up via this online form. The $500,000 program is part of Phase III of Libraries Ready to Code, an ongoing collaboration between ALA and Google to ensure library staff are prepared to develop and deliver programming that promotes computer science (CS) and computational thinking (CT) among youth, two skills that will be required for challenges and jobs of the future. YALSA is partnering with ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy, AASL, and ALSC to implement this program. Learn more.
If you’re attending Annual, I hope you can join us Monday, June 26, from 10:30-noon, in the Convention Center, room W184bc, for the Annual YALSA Membership Meeting and President’s Program!
During the membership meeting, you’ll meet the current YALSA Board of Directors, as well as next year’s Board. We’ll recognize grant and award winners, as well as donors. I’ll give a brief update of board actions over the past year, and the incoming president-elect, Sandra Hughes-Hassell, will discuss her initiative for next year.
Directly after the membership meeting, my presidential program task force chair, Valerie Davis, will lead a panel discussion on the theme of “Real Teens, Real Ready” about college/career readiness and adulting. She had great help finding these speakers–her task force members were Lisa Borten, Lisa Dettling, Jeremy Dunn, Katie Guzan, and Ellen Popit.
Tiffany Boeglen and Britni Cherrington-Stoddart, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library – Non-Traditional Career Paths
Laurel Johnson, Skokie Public Library – Neutral Zone/Peer Guided Conversations
Lisa Borten, Brooklyn Public Library – Youth Council/Urban Art Jamm
Jennifer Steele, Chicago Public Library – (PRO)jectUS, creative workforce development/partnerships
Emmanuel Pratt, Sweet Water Foundation, Chicago – Neighborhood Development for Youth
The presentations are going to be awesome, so be prepared to find ideas that you can implement in your community! See you there!
A continuing trend for colleges and universities is to sponsor a Common Reading Program for incoming freshman. These programs aim to connect new students around a shared experience that promises to build community. Every freshman (in theory) reads the book, so when they arrive in August, they have something to talk about beyond the normal freshman small talk.
Now, this isn’t a new idea and in fact, lots of libraries have done similar programs with their more broader community. We might call it something different, like City Reads or One Book, One City, but the concept is the same. It’s a way to bring people together, create common ground, share diverse perspectives, and come to a better understanding of one another.
The library is a natural partner in these sorts of programs, not only for our ability to provide copies of the book, but also the wealth of resources around the book itself. We are in great positions to provide programming and additional information for those really interested in the book content. Additionally, because the library is often considered a third space, it’s a natural spot for some community discussions on the book.
YouthTruth has recently come out with a new survey, College and Career Readiness, of 165,000 high school students “between the 2010-11 and 2014-15 school years,” and found a vast amount of information that shows that high school students want to go to college, but “most feel unprepared to do so.” High school students also feel less prepared for future careers and are “not taking advantage of support services,” such as programs presented at libraries and more. Along with high school students, middle school students also feel unprepared for college and a future career.