2019 Teen Summer Intern Program: Jefferson City Public Library

When entering into our Teen Internship Program, I was prepared to mentor our teens in critical job skills to equip them for their futures. I wanted them to learn to work as a team, to gain confidence in their natural abilities, and to see that they are unique and important contributors to their communities. But my experience with our internship program taught me – once again – that the relationship between a teen and their librarian is different from any other. And I discovered that the most important lessons teens learn with us aren’t necessarily those we plan.

Because teens are still growing up and learning to handle an array of life skills, they bring all their learning needs with them to whatever they do. We think they are coming to an internship just to learn job skills, but they have more needs than that. And they might just turn to us for help. I don’t know exactly what it is about librarians that makes us more accessible than others. Perhaps it’s because we’re adults who are respected, but not authority figures. Perhaps it’s because we stand by the gates of knowledge (holding them open) and they instinctively associate us with the ancient figure of the “priestly advisor.” 

Whatever the reason, I’ve found this special role requires being emotionally sensitive and available to our teen patrons. This summer, I discovered it to be crucial for our teen interns. Being the intern coordinator required a balance of being a job-skills mentor – directing events, guiding projects, and showing the ins and outs of the library – and being a life-skills mentor – a confidant, comforter, and encourager. My job was not just to teach things like how to successfully manage a program, but also to be keenly sensitive to any personal struggles. For one teen in particular, I had to understand the affect her struggles had on her performance and be patient so as to allow her time to regain her equilibrium. I mentored her through life lessons that were not related to job skills.

In some ways, I doubted our success in fulfilling the purpose of the grant because the most important skills learned were not career centered. Then I realized that success in the job world requires more than just a set of technical skills and job-centered ideals. A person must have certain personal qualities. I remembered the idea of emotional intelligence and did a quick search. I discovered that according to Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, there is “Intrapersonal Intelligence.” This intelligence is the “capacity to be self-aware and in tune with inner feelings, values, beliefs and thinking processes.” These are the qualities the teen intern developed over the summer. Qualities she will need in her work life as well as her personal life. And –wait – it sounds very much like the goal “to gain confidence in their natural abilities.” So in the end, being an “accidental” life-skills mentor was being a job-skills mentor.

Teen interns lead a storytime.

Teen interns lead a storytime.

 

Emily L. Shade is a Library Assistant at Jefferson City Public Library.

2019 Teen Summer Intern Program: Thompson Fellowship @ Wake County Public Libraries

For the second year in a row, Wake County Public Libraries was fortunate to receive a grant via the YALSA Teen Summer Intern initiative and offered the Thompson Fellowship program for older teens (grades 11-12).  Once again, we were able to hire 5 interns to help us provide educational activities and engaging opportunities at selective USDA funded Summer Food Sites in partnership with Wake County Parks and Recreation.  The grant funding helped offset costs of the program.

Hired in May and trained in early June, the fellows worked with us from mid-June through early August.  Our teens were with us five days a week, offering activities at the food site Monday-Thursday and participating in personal enrichment activities on Fridays including financial literacy, Gallup’s Strength’s Finder and leadership exercises.  Each of them also left the program with a portfolio, cover letter and resume that will help them with employment and college applications

New this year, after visiting the food sites the teens worked in our collection services department learning about the preparation and processing of materials.  We also enlisted them to participate in a focus group to help us learn about the interests of older teens and how we might better develop programs or services to meet their needs.

We were very excited to offer this opportunity again.  The program was very successful in 2018 and was recognized by both the North Carolina Public Library Directors’ Association (Best Service Innovation) and the National Association of Counties (Achievement Award). Word of the program spread and this year were contacted by several other agencies and organizations who wanted to learn how to enrich their food site programs too.  We shared information and training, made some new connections and hope to be able to expand the program next year. 

 

Elena M. Owens is the Library Experience Manager for the Wake County Government.

2019 Teen Summer Intern Program: Grant Gives Local Teen an Inspiring Work Experience

Sachem Public Library developed a list of hiring expectations for our teen intern.  This included required dates/hours needed, an explanation of the job responsibilities, and desired qualities we were looking for in an intern candidate.  Each intern was required to submit a resume and letter of recommendation from a teacher, coach, or employer with their completed application. Intern responsibilities included:

  • Attend Intern Orientation.  The orientation introduced the intern to all areas of the library and library staff.  We discussed guidelines for professionalism in the workplace, our teen behavior policy, and any library policies that may impact the intern while assisting on the public floor or in library workshops. 
  • Complete assignments from the books The 7 Habits for Effective Teens by Sean Covey and Smile & Succeed for Teens: A Crash Course in Face-to-Face Communication by Kirt Manecke for mentoring on effective communication and successful work skills.  These books were intended to prepare the intern for real life work situations. Assignments were completed outside of work hours.  Each week the intern met with their supervisor to discuss weekly readings and assignments. We discussed what the intern had learned about themselves and pointers learned that could be applied to their internship and future jobs.  
  • Plan and teach activities for two (2) Friday night teen workshops and the Teen Summer Reading Club that are centered on encouraging reading and literacy learning.  The first event our intern assisted in planning was our family outdoor movie night for Spider-man: Into the Spider Verse.  A button maker station was set up for youth to make pins of their favorite Spiderman characters.  The intern operated the button machines, created character templates, and engaged youth in the activity while assisting in managing a large crowd.  Our Friday night programs typically average 80-90 youth.
  • Write questions, formulate trivia challenges, and lead Battle of the Books meetings with Battle coaches.  Our intern was an Assistant Coach for our Battle of the Books team.  The team meets three times per week for three months. It is competitive and although we start our team with 25+ team members, the library can only select six team members to compete in the county competition.  Our intern helped select the team, making tough choices about which students to select or eliminate based on skills and knowledge. The team won 2nd place in the county against 39 teams. 
  • Assist in various aspects of teen summer workshops including running activity stations in coding and technology at Welcome 6th Graders and STEAMCon.  The intern created special effects photos with our green screen at Welcome 6th Graders.  For STEAMCon which focuses on trends in emerging technology, our intern assisted with digital art, low tech crafting, and coding with robotics. 
  • Assist in selecting themed books for book displays in summer workshops.  Our Teen Book Reviewer initiative was used to create monthly book displays based on submitted reviews by teens.  Bookmarks were also created for selected books pulling quotes from teen reviewers.  
  • Submit a weekly log on assigned duties detailing experiences in workshops. 
Teens participate in Battle of the Books.

Battle of the Books Team 2019

Teens participate in Battle of the Books.

Battle of the Books Team 2019

Teens participate in Battle of the Books.

Battle of the Books Team 2019

 

 

 

The library desired the following qualities for our potential intern: 

  • Experience working with youth.
  • Interest in creating and teaching innovative workshops for youth.
  • Ability to work as part of a team.
  • Ability to receive/follow instructions.
  • Willingness to learn and participate in everyday library work.
  • Be self-motivated and able to work independently.

The potential candidate was interviewed by two teen librarians. Our goal was to simulate a real job interview as practice for future job interviews.  We prepared a list of interview questions:  

  1. Why did you apply for this internship?
  2. What interests you the most about the position?
  3. What do you hope to learn or take away from your internship experience?
  4. What are your career interests?
  5. How would you describe your work or study style? How do you approach assignments and big projects?
  6. Are you comfortable speaking in front of a group of people?
  7. Do you have any ideas for programs or projects you would like to facilitate with teens?

We were extremely happy with the intern selected, Anaelle Surprise, who will be an incoming senior at a local private school. Anaelle was a welcome addition to our Teen Services team and had a wonderful rapport in engaging our teens.  

 

Laura Panter is Head of Teen Services at Sachem Public Library.

2019 Summer Learning Resources Grant: Pi in the Sky – Combining AstroCamp with Legacy Gaming

The 2019 YALSA/Dollar General Summer Learning Resources Grant allowed us to make the most of our summer kids and teens program Nerd Camp. Nerd Camp was five days at each of our branches where the campers were able to perform from NASA’s and Stennis Space Center’s AstroCamp as well as a day of retro video gaming using Raspberry Pis, monitors and controllers purchased with our grant. By partnering with Stennis Space Center, we were able to increase the learning opportunities for rural and under-served teens and youth and present them with NASA created projects to pique interested in space-related learning. Stennis provided eight hours of training in science as well as many projects that we integrated seamlessly into our program. This training allowed us to pass the knowledge on to youth service specialists and volunteers within the program. The coverage created by this allowed for all our volunteers, our summer intern, as well as our youth specialists to engage with the youth and ensure a higher level of help and learning.

These activities mixed into our existing ideas and program well and flowed directly into our retro gaming and raspberry pi ending extremely well. This showed how science and technology can pair with programming and computers and the use of the pis showed a common use that simple computing knowledge can achieve. Also, this built excitement for science and technology within an underserved community that dovetailed into the summer reading theme of “A Universe of Stories.”

With our five Nerd Camps across all five of our branches, we saw a preponderance of engagement from the community. Our community is an economically diverse one. Because many of our youth patrons get free lunches at school during the year, we wanted to be able to offer that for the days of our camps. To do this we partnered with various restaurants at each branch to provide lunch for the youth and volunteers at each camp. This allowed our partners to have an impact in the community and for the youth at our camps to have a provided meal. While we were able to provide lunch every day at our camps, there was a time we struggled to find partnerships. In the end, however, we locked in both local eateries as well as chains to have lunch provided. Also, through working with McAllister’s Deli we were able to provide snacks and iced tea to two camps as well. During our time in the Canton branch we utilized the summer free lunch program that we offer through the school district at the branch to provide meals for the campers. This allowed us to focus on finding partners for our other four branches while ensuring that the youth at Canton had food provided.

Engagement during camp was a wonderful success. At the Madison branch, we saw a turnout of 20 children. This number was steady through all four days of our camp. At our Camden branch, which is a rural community that serves a population of 900, we saw 10 campers daily. During these days, we were able to have the youth design and fire rockets, learn about computer and gaming, and be exposed to STEM concepts in a fun and engaging way.

 

Dawn Collins is the Youth Services Director for the Madison County Library System.

2019 Teen Summer Intern Program: Managing Teen Summer Interns – (Some) Mistakes Were Made

The Ypsilanti District Library’s (YDL) 2019 Teen Summer Intern program was a great learning experience, not only for the teen interns, but also for the YDL staff! This was my first year managing teen interns at YDL and, as a result, I did not have my predecessor’s resources or anecdotes on past teen internships… I was starting from scratch for literally everything involving this process. I recruited for our internships mainly by word of mouth with our regular teen volunteers and patrons. I also added the application to our Teen Interest Page on the library’s website. All interested teens had to submit an application to me by June 1st in order to be considered. After distributing at least 12 applications in person, I only received five back, only three of which were totally complete. We had a lot of teens express interest after the deadline, which led into multiple conversations about prioritizing, managing deadlines and “there’s always next year”. Given the status of completed applications, my choices were pretty apparent and I hired the three teens who filled out their applications correctly and completely. I did have individual conversations with the other two teens about the incomplete status of their applications and encouraged them to try again next year, letting them know the reason as to why they were not selected. I felt like this aspect of the process was extremely important, as a lot of our teen patrons come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and are interested in working but lack work experience and 21st century career skills. This remained a constant theme throughout the summer with multiple conversations about anything from being late to cell phone use during shift times.

Photo by K. Scott

Once the interns were selected, we did a quick one-on-one session to go over expectations, tour the library spaces they would be working in and the supplies they were going to be using. They were also given their summer schedules based on their noted availability from their applications. In retrospect, as a time saver, I would plan for the future to have this be a more formal training that everyone attends at the same time. This would also ensure that the teens are all receiving the same information. I would also make sure to introduce the teens (maybe via email with their pictures, as well as walking them around for in-person introductions) to all the library staff, so they are familiar with the teen interns and understand why they are in the “staff-only” areas during the summer months.  One of our teen interns was incredibly shy and laconic. This was challenging for some of our librarians and library staff who did not work directly with the teen interns. Some misconstrued her demeanor as rude or unengaged. She also felt shy because there were a few staff members who kept forgetting her name and repeatedly did not recognize her. The only time she conveyed this to me was in her final evaluation and review meeting. In retrospect, I also wish I had hosted a couple mid-summer check-in meetings with the teen interns, as I could have hopefully made her feel more comfortable sooner and also allowed for more opportunities for her to engage with the staff members who did not know her. Providing the teens with nametags and lanyards would also have been helpful, to create a more “official” vibe for them when working at the library in their roles as interns. Lastly, and most importantly, I think managing library staff’s expectations for teen volunteers would be essential. Providing them in advance with information on the teen brain and how to engage teens would have been helpful for both staff and the teen interns. 

Photo by K. Scott

Our Summer Learning & Reading Challenge kicked off on June 15th, which was the first day our teen interns officially started working. Throughout the summer, our interns mostly helped with programs- prep, running the events, and cleanup. Overall, our internships were successful and it was a lot of fun getting to know the teens better and watching their confidence grow over the summer. The most heartwarming aspects were watching the interns learn how to create iPad book trailers and then engaging with youth patrons at our Library Lab STEM program, teaching the younger children how to create their own book trailers. It’s been a long, crazy-busy summer, but our teen interns were super helpful and it was so much fun getting to know them these past couple months!  I am already looking forward to implementing some more positive changes and improvements to our internship program for the summer of 2020!

 

Kelly Scott is the Teen Librarian at Ypsilanti District Library.

2019 Summer Learning Resources Grant: Building Interest in Technology Programs for Teens

 The City of Warren is located in Southeast Michigan. In 2017, it was estimated that 31.4% of youth under the age of 18 in Warren live at less than 100% of the federal poverty level. Technological literacy is an important skill that can empower youth to have successful lives and careers. Youth who are affected by poverty are likely to fall behind their peer group in their ability to comprehend and manipulate technologies, limiting their future educational and career prospects.

The inside of a completed Google AIY kit.

The Warren Public Library was fortunate to receive a Summer Learning Resource Grant funded by YALSA and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. Our goal was to introduce teens to new kinds of technology, specifically virtual reality and artificial intelligence.  We used the grant money to purchase two Oculus Go headsets, four AIY kits by Google, and books about applied science.

Previous teen tech-based programs at the library have had low attendance. It is difficult to discern why this is the case, but we made a few decisions to help us try to raise teen attendance numbers throughout the summer. 

First, we decided that our technology programs would focus on “process” learning instead of “product” learning. Our goal was to familiarize teens with the technology tools, not to teach them to be experts. For this reason, we allowed them to experiment with the tools with very few specific goals in mind. This made the process more fun and lower pressure because the teens knew there was no right or wrong way to go about using the tools.

The Voice kit is on the left and the Vision kit is on the right.

Second, we brought the tools to programs that were not technology based. For example, the Oculus Go sets were available at our monthly Teen Spot program, Anime Club, and our summer learning closing lock-in. This allowed us to introduce them to a much wider audience. Specifically, it helped us to reach teens who would not have been interested in signing up for a “tech” program. 

Third, we did not focus on “educational” activities. Because our main goal was to interest young people in newer forms of technology, we felt that any use of the tools was educational. For example, while we did download Oculus Go apps that allowed users to “tour” the Anne Frank House, we also downloaded roller coaster simulations and adventure games. 

Finally, we asked our Friends of the Library to volunteer to assist with our teen programs this summer. While this was originally for practical purposes, it actually had an interesting effect. Many of the Friends are retirees who are not familiar with technology.  The teens’ greater comfort with technology led to collaboration and learning opportunities for everyone. 

The Oculus Go headset and control.

Although some programs still did not meet target attendance numbers, overall Warren Public Library had more successful teen programs than in previous summers. Perhaps most telling is our “Space Age Tech Day” which introduced both the Oculus Go sets and the AIY kits. While only six teens attended, it greatly improved over our previous technology event for teens, which had zero attendees.   

 

Julianne Novetsky is the Library Technician at Warren Civic Center Library.

 

2019 Teen Summer Intern Program: Ford Memorial Library

At the Ford Memorial Library we are striving to provide tech education and resources to teens and young people in our rural area. With the recent expansion of our building we have been able to implement more tech infrastructure including a much faster network and internet connection, as well as our new mobile tech lab (pictured). This summer we have run a number of programs and activities to facilitate the goal of increasing tech literacy among our local youth.

Teens sit in a classroom for a presentation. Teens work on laptop computers.

Our teen intern, Harrison, was a key part of that process this summer. We hired him initially based on his previous customer service experience and interest in technology. We believe he shares our vision for bettering tech infrastructure in the area, and in addition to helping us with programs we also allowed him space to pursue his own projects. He created a video for our YouTube channel, taught a class on iOS, and did a considerable amount of research and outreach to help us bring an electric vehicle charger to our new parking lot.

From Harrison:

In my time at the Edith B. Ford Memorial Library, I have gained a plethora of knowledge. While participating as the Teen Intern at the library I took part in activities associated with our Summer Reading/Learning Program. During this endeavor, I managed time that involved setting up, cleaning up, as well as managing start and end times with the movement of youth groups. I also developed science-related activities for youth groups regarding astronomy. Further, at the end of the Summer Reading Program, I creatively displayed literary works and coordinated their movements on our shelves. Additionally I set up and moved technological equipment such as those used for photography, videography and gaming. Likewise, I put this equipment to use while taking photos, recording videos, and setting up and logging gaming equipment for patrons. In conjunction with technology, I assisted patrons using their devices as well as those owned by the library. Additionally I assessed the uses of technology both from a modern point of view as well as from an archaic point of view. Furthermore I gained insight into consumer relations and customer service. This was achieved by taking phone calls from patrons and local libraries and completing actions that are required to assure a seamless experience among our surrounding communities. 

My personal project was to bring an electric vehicle charging station to our area. This project was something that was of interest to not only myself, but to some of the other library staff. This involved researching options as to the companies that would make both logistical and practical sense to work with for our current plans for what the end product to this project would be. After assessing companies to work with, I chose one and began our endeavor towards a solution to this lack of a charging station in our centrally located area. It started with an email to the company, which led to an organized business call with the company to assess costs as well as rebates which our non-profit library could benefit from. This led me to discover the tasks of a business in operating alongside companies to gain a desired outcome. This led me to contact the director of the library and start the process of getting a quote as to the installation of a charger in the parking lot of our library. This was a great learning opportunity for myself in order to gain insight as to the operations of a business.

 

Luke Hodde is an IT Specialist at Edith B. Ford Memorial Library. 

New Issue of YALSA’s Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults: Vol. 10 N. 2

Volume 10, Issue 2 of of YALSA’s Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults (JRLYA) is now available online at http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/.This issue features research papers relating to public library teen youth services staff, cultural depictions in award-winning young adult literature, and the digital practices of teens.

With their paper,“Perspectives on Youth Data Literacy at the Public Library: Teen Services Staff Speak Out,” Leanne Bowler, Amelia Acker, and Yu Chi present data and analysis from the second phase of a three-year study exploring the relationship between teens and data literacy with regard to public library teen services.  Through their focus on teen services staff, the authors present a model of youth data literacy that is intended to prepare teens to thrive in a data-driven society.
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Apply now for YALSA’s 2019 Diversity Program Stipend

YALSA invites diverse individuals to apply by August 1 for a chance to present a literacies focused program at its 2019 YA Services Symposium in Memphis, TN. The program will take place on Sunday, November 3rd of the symposium.

If selected, the recipient must become a YALSA/ALA member and will be provided $1,500 to offset that cost, as well as registration, travel, lodging, and meal expenses at the symposium. Funds for the stipend are generously provided by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

With this opportunity, YALSA hopes to create a more just and equitable symposium by providing more professional opportunities for diverse individuals from underrepresented populations, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, language, culture, national origin, age, disability status, ideology, religion, power differentiated groups and professional skills.

Only one session proposal per person will be accepted. Literacies, as defined by YALSA, extends beyond traditional literacy and includes, but is not limited to visual, digital, textual and technology literacy or serving underserved teens. Before accepting the award, the recipient must become a member of YALSA/ALA. Learn more and apply by August 1.

YALSA’s 2019 YA Services Symposium will take place Nov. 1-3 with the theme: Show Up and Advocate: Supporting Teens in the Face of Adversity. Now through early bird registration (September 15), those who join YALSA and register for the symposium will be automatically entered for a chance to win free registration for the 2020 YALSA symposium, which will take place in Reno, NV. More information about the symposium can be found at www.ala.org/yalsa/yasymposium.