A Teen’s Thoughts on Interning @ Kern County Library: Dollar General Grant Winner

The YALSA/Dollar General internship grant was a huge success for both the teen and the library. The Kern County Arvin Branch Library had its second Lunch at the Library program this summer. It was such a huge success last year that we just knew we could double our numbers this year. In order to make this possible we would need someone who was willing and ready to take any task that may arise. Luckily we found a great student, Jazmin, with a great recommendation from her science teacher. She was selected and did a great job at setting up and for our Lunch @ the Library program every day. She hosted a few programs such as Legos Club, a few arts and crafts programs, and Xbox Kinect. Jazmin was doing such a great job that we decided to utilize her in many other areas as well. She helped signing up students for summer reading, and sorting and shelving books. One great trait about Jazmin is she takes initiative. She does not wait to be told what to do. Once she understood the routine at the library, she assimilated right into our work day. Here is Jazmin’s experience in her own words:

As a sophomore in high school a job should be the last subject in mind as school is coming to an end. Extracurricular activities were still on, teachers were assigning homework, tests were being jammed into our hands, and social life did not wait for anyone; nonetheless, a job was on my mind for the summer. Juggling what a teen could in high school my parents decided that I needed one more ball to do the trick, I began to look for a job and our family business was not an option. Thanks to a friend I received information towards an internship for the Arvin Branch Library, so I went into my high school’s career center and got an application. I turned the application in to the library and waited for a phone call.

 

A week passed and I finally received a call giving me information for an interview. I believe I stopped breathing. This was in fact my very first, serious job so I had to keep in mind that the only time I ever practiced for an interview was once in Academic Decathlon. You guessed it, I was a nervous wreck just thinking about it. The day arrived and my hands were clammy, sweaty, and shaking as I walked into the room and sat in front of my hopefully-future boss. I hoped that I would not stutter. Keeping a good posture and a steady breath, I willed myself to relax. Before I knew it, the interview was over and I had survived. I was given constructive criticism as to what I did well and what I could work on for future interviews. After a hand shake, some nods, a ‘thank you,’ and another week, I was given the job.

 

I believed my first day on the job would involve confusion; instead I received more information, food trays, and kids – so much better. The day began with a tour around the library and the system it runs on. I memorized where each genre of books should be placed and I began shelving and fixing misplaced books. Later on I met other employees and built friendships with them. My second job consisted of giving kids food in the Summer Reading Program and getting to interact with them in fun activities. Little by little I received more jobs and I kept learning from everyone each week. All of it was very exciting and I loved to play with the kids; unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.

My experience in the Summer Reading Program was enjoyable, as well as learning about the way things are run in a library. One of the reasons for why I decided to fill in the application for the internship was to help and give back to the community in anyway and it was possible. This job and the program has allowed me to meet new people, help others, make connections, and – in a way – helped me face my small fear for interviews. I am absolutely thankful that I was given the opportunity to learn every day and I wish that it could have been longer.

 

We are glad we were able to provide real work experience. From first real interview, to building new connections that will help her in future job opportunities. We’d like to thank YALSA and hope we can participate in similar programs in the future.

Written by Rafael Moreno. I started working for the Kern County Library in December 2005 and became a permanent employee in April 2007. From June 2006 through July 2017 I supervised the Arvin and Lamont Branch Libraries. During that time I successfully raised Summer Reading statistics 8 out of the 11 years at those locations. My Spanish speaking skills are essential in the communities I served. The Kern County Library’s YouTube online bilingual storytime was good enough to be noticed by ALA who interviewed me for an online article on bilingual programs. Working on my Master’s has been a personal priority outside of work. I recently graduated from San Jose State University with a Master’s in Library Informational Science. Timing was perfect. A spot recently opened up and I am in the process of being promoted to Librarian for the Southwest Branch Library. It is a different community with a larger and more diverse demographics which I plan to serve well.

Summer Teen Interns @ Onslow County Public Library: Dollar General Grant Winner

The Onslow County Public Library received the YALSA/Dollar General Summer Teen Intern Grant, which allocated a $1,000 donation to implement a teen intern program. We were thrilled to receive the grant and excited to see what would come of the program!

Teens applied, were interviewed, and were selected to be either lead (rising seniors) or assistant (rising juniors) interns. Our library system includes four library branches, and one lead and one assistant intern were hired for each branch. They completed training and dedicated 2-5 hours of work per week at their branch. Interns were responsible for planning, preparing for, and facilitating a genre book club for children in 3rd-5th grade. Other projects were assigned as needed.

Goals:

  • Give teens relevant experience in applying and interviewing for jobs.
  • Give interns experience working collaboratively and using creativity and resources to plan, prepare for, and lead a book club.
  • Gain experience in showing commitment to a schedule and learn about how library programs are planned and facilitated.

For the first year running and minimal marketing, the program was a success, with 13 applicants and 8 selected interns! The interns shared some of what they learned at the end of the summer:

“I learned that interviews are not as scary as I thought they would be, and interviewers are just people too.” – Loren

“A lot more goes into library programs than I thought.” – Josh

“Dress to impress!” – Ariana

The goals of the program were undoubtedly met and exceeded the expectations of the original grant. The teens were not only able to gain valuable experience in library programming, job skills and work ethic, but also gained a deeper understanding of the library and its mission. The teens learned that it is not only job skills and knowledge that make successful employees.

“I learned that it is important to get along with others and listen to ideas that are different than mine. Sometimes you have to change what you think to work on a team.” – Gabe

“It can be difficult to manage time and keep up with all the commitments you’ve made.” – Josh

These teens learned real-life lessons that will help them plan for the future and become more dependable and better communicators.

The interns impressed both the library staff and the patrons with their creative ideas and passionate love of reading. They were able to share this with the children, further proving the worth of this program. The children got to see people that they admire reading and enjoying reading. The activities helped to bring the books to life and show children that reading isn’t just words on a page.

I personally gained a wealth of new experience through this program. Before this summer, I had only worked with teens in libraries in an assisting capacity, never taking the lead. This program unexpectedly fell onto my list of responsibilities due to staff changes and I am incredibly grateful. I learned that teens are an invaluable resource to libraries, that marketing is an integral part of library programming and requires careful planning, and that evaluation is just as essential as planning.

The teens were capable of much more than we originally planned for and would have benefitted from more responsibilities and more assigned hours. While we were able to pay them thanks to the grant, we did not want to ask them to work too many hours. This was an error that was revealed in the evaluation phase. The teens were willing and able to work more hours and would have benefitted through a wider variety of projects.

In addition, we learned through post-program evaluation that more marketing and promotion was needed. While we were thrilled to receive 13 applicants to the internship, visits to the high schools would have garnered a much better response. The book club that the interns led would have also had a better turnout if the program had been promoted more effectively.

Teen interns are an incredible addition to the summer reading team due to their creativity, energy, and excitement. I highly recommend starting a teen intern program to all those working in libraries with young adults. Thank you, Dollar General and YALSA, for giving these teens the opportunity to show us how they stacked up!

My name is Jenna Kirkhart and I worked in child care and preschool after receiving my bachelor’s in Child Development. I found my passion for library youth services when a friend recommended I apply for a position at Onslow County Public Library. Since beginning my career here, I have done early literacy programs, book clubs, dance parties, and helped with more than I could list here! I especially enjoyed coordinating this teen intern program and hope to continue exploring new areas of library services.

Putting Teens First in Library Services: Community, Middle School, & College Career Readiness

In this installment of the video series, Putting Teens First in Library Services, Shannon Peterson and Linda Braun talk with Hannah Buckland about her work in support of college career readiness of middle schoolers. Hannah is a member of the first cohort of YALSA’s IMLS funded Future Ready with the Library project. She is the Director of the Leech Lake Tribal College Library.

Applications for the second Future Ready with the Library cohort are being accepted through September 1. You can read more about the project on the YALSA website and in YALSAblog posts.

You can learn more about Putting Teens First in Library Services in YALSA’s new book edited by Shannon and Linda. If you would like to be interviewed for this series email Shannon and Linda.

Cabell County Public Library: Teen Intern Dollar General Grant

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.

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Real World Work Experience @ Spencer County Public Library

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.    

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Summer Outreach & Building Library Collaborations

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.

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Teen Summer Interns @ Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

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. 

Teen Summer Intern @ Algona Public Library

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.

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Grant Funding for Computer Science & Computational Thinking Programs

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.

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YALSA Board @ #alaac17: Membership Meeting & President’s Program

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.

Panelists include:

  • 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!