Article proposals for the Winter 2021 issue of YALSA’s journal, YALS are currently being sought. The theme for the issue is Youth Voices. Prospective articles include those that consider teen voice, what it is, how teens use it, and how we can provide support through library services, resources, and programming. How do we train ourselves to encourage and support teens who want to engage their communities and the world at large? Learn more and submit by Oct. 28.
TeenTober replaces YALSA’s previous Teen Read Week and Teen Tech Week celebrations to allow libraries the flexibility to celebrate all types of literacies according to their library and teen patrons’ schedule anytime during the month of October. It aims to celebrate teens, promote year-round teen services and the innovative ways teen services helps teens learn new skills, and fuel their passions in and outside the library. Library staff are also encouraged to utilize this new celebration to advocate for and raise awareness of the importance of year-round teen services in libraries.
To help libraries plan programming for TeenTober, YALSA has developed a list of suggested weekly topics for the celebration month:
- Week 1: Literacies
- Week 2: Writing
- Week 3: Technology & Gaming
- Week 4: Art & Music
Libraries are encouraged to adapt and alter the schedule to fit its library and teen patrons’ needs. Find more helpful resources related to planning, advocacy, and programs in the TeenTober toolkit. Don’t forget to also visit our Teen Programming HQ database to share and find more program ideas. Free marketing graphics such as a logo and social media graphics are also available. Share your celebration plans with @yalsa and join the conversation online with #TeenTober.
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.
Emily L. Shade is a Library Assistant at Jefferson City Public Library.
When I was in elementary school, I grew up in a tiny town, a little over 800 people. The community library was right next to the elementary school. The library hosted pizza party book clubs, author events, and a public community space. The school had a partnership with the community library, kids would have class there and the school would buy children’s books. It was one of my first experiences with computers, the large bulky Apple iMacs that moved slower than molasses, were such a monumental experience for me. Hiding in the shelves, my eyes taking in every word I could at my tiny little library. When we moved to a slightly larger town (now 3000 people), the Jeudevine Library became a safe haven. During the summers in middle school I would spend hours at the Jeudevine, picking books upon books to take home. The library during Halloween was my favorite, hosting a ‘haunted library’ scavenger hunt with the librarians dressing up as famous literature characters, (this year, they were Alice in Wonderland characters!) While I can’t spend hours at the library like I used to, I see that spark of reading and curiosity in younger kids in my town. Even if they’re not reading, the boys in my town get together once the library is open to all play computer games together. Diane, the children’s librarian, gives them snacks. The regular visitors bring the 8 or more books from the past week, and check out another dozen books. The people who stop in once in a while, and those I can always count on seeing. I wouldn’t have met this community had I not been given the opportunity of being a teen intern at the Jeudevine Library.
I started volunteering my time at the library in January 2019. I taught a drop-in beginners knitting class for children after school. We would get regular kids coming back regularly and knitting. Community members donated piles of yarn and needles for children to use. As the summer started, the number of kids dropped, but one woman kept coming in and talking and knitting with me. She lived in Wolcott, a nearby town. She loved the Jeudevine Library and would keep coming back with her husband. She taught me about the ‘Shawl in a ball’ knitting pattern, knitting a shawl with one ball of yarn. She showed me jewelry she made, her pottery classes and her experiences going to college. (I’m a rising senior, she gave me some very good advice!) Having the hour each week to talk to library patrons and knit, allowing myself space to relax and recharge by doing something I love.
Before school was over, Diane told me about a grant she received. The grant was to hire a local teenager to help with events and marketing. She offered the grant to me if I wanted it, and of course I did. I hadn’t spent this much time in the Jeudevine because of high school, and the knitting class showed me the gem I had forgotten about. I immediately said yes, we worked out the details and my hours. I was so excited to continue the work I had started.
This year’s library theme was ‘A Universe of Stories’, all centered around space. Diane set up events around space, and I helped in any way I could. I helped manage Ed Pop Magic Show, Wall-E Movie Night, Story Walk on the Hardwick Trails, Story Time with Headstart, writing workshops, and puppet shows and a stargazing party hosted with a NASA volunteer. We’d also host Jeudevine Library story times at the Hardwick Farmers’ Market, reading books or hosting arts and crafts at the weekly markets. I would put up posters, post stuff online, and spread the word around to get more people involved and excited about the libraries’ events as I was. One of my favorite events to help was the Story Walk at the Hardwick Trails. I helped cut up ‘The Darkest Dark’ by Chris Hadfield, and tape them to stakes on the Hardwick Trails behind my high school. The mosquitoes on the Wednesday morning were fierce, and Diane and I had to tape 35 pages to the stakes quickly but thoroughly while getting massacred by bugs. We were giggling the entire time, running from post to post trying to not get bitten. We had bug spray on, but those bugs were relentless. Right before the story walk was supposed to start, only one family was there. These two little boys playing on the large rocks. They were so excited to be outside in the sun, climbing like little monkeys, impatient to start the walk.
Diane and I spent so much time making this a fun event. I had read the book to prepare, and knew to read quickly to move the group along, but not slow enough that it dragged. More than 30 adults and children showed up to the story walk, some students from the Hazen Summer School program came just to have some fun outside. We started the book, children running to the next post to look at the pictures. They were so excited to listen to this story, that no one noticed the bugs. After half an hour and one book later, we were at the end of the trail. A family visiting their grandparents from out of state had come on the storywalk. The grandfather complimented Diane and I, saying how much he enjoyed the event and that he was glad he could have a nice morning with his grandchildren. It absolutely made my day, even as Diane and I had to go back through the trail to pick up all the stakes.
I live right next to the field where the farmers’ markets are hosted. Growing up, I would spend the hot Friday afternoons eating yummy food with my parents as they bought groceries. My favorite thing was getting my face painted. A local bakery sells these over-sized cinnamon buns that my grandmother would always buy for us, and I remember getting a cinnamon bun painted on my cheek. When Diane mentioned that she was buying face paint for the farmers’ markets I was so excited! She bought some paints online, it came with a little booklet and face glitter. Listen, I’m not an artist and don’t claim to be. I do enjoy painting but I wouldn’t call myself an artist. I did a genuine job painting, and all of the kids had a great time.
One day Diane asked me to find some “space” arts and crafts to bring to the farmers’ market. Something with materials we already had, and would be simple for me to make. I found the perfect craft: little aliens using pompoms, plastic cups and bowls, and googly eyes! These little aliens were so fun and easy to make, I immediately made one to test out the process. The little alien floated around the library as a little friend! I even made him a book to read on his flight. I underestimated the amount of kids who wanted an alien buddy, and ended up running out of supplies right at the end to the farmers’ market. Every kid had an alien by the end of the night, and we used yarn we had been given for the knitting class.
This internship opened my eyes to both the magic I already knew, and some that I had yet to discover. I connected to more adults and kids in my community. I worked the front desk, shelved books, taught knitting, made aliens, put up posters, and sold raffle tickets all for my town’s little library. This building and the people it serves are more important to me now than ever before, learning more about myself and its culture than I ever thought I could. I grew as a person and community member as the summer went on.
The library is hosting a puppet show as I write this with a local comedy couple, two people I work for on their other projects. Knowing them, knowing other talented patrons and supporters, knowing friends and visitors to the library is comforting, a family that comes together for more than just books. The town I live in is a family, a quirky odd family. Without the library, there’s not much to do in Hardwick for children and families, adults and visitors. There are few places to go that will print things for you, free wifi and computer services. This internship taught me how to give back. For all the library does, there’s 20 people giving right back, either checking out books or coming to events, making donations or volunteering. Hardwick is full of giving, loving, exciting, creative, genuine people. I wouldn’t have known that without the Jeudevine Library.
Diane Grenkow is the Children’s Librarian at Jeudevine Memorial Library.
This summer the Tyler Public Library was fortunate to be awarded the Summer Learning Resources Grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and YALSA. These funds were used for three interactive programs for teens, including Cupcake Wars, Nerf War, and DJ Dance Party as well as one outreach program, the Nailed It Art Contest. By hosting these programs, our library aimed to engage the teen population in our area in general with a specific focus on reaching out to teens in foster care and teen group homes in our community.
In the past year, our library Youth Services department has been working to better reach out to teens in care as we know them to be an underserved group by our library. Knowing that this would be a challenge given possible logistical obstacles such as transporting teens to the library or encountering communication issues such as establishing the correct contacts to reach out to, we, nevertheless, pursued this goal to reach out to teens in care. It was important for our library to engage and meet the needs of these teens as members of our community and help fill any gap between the opportunities for recreation and education available to these teens during the summer compared to other teens in the community.
Library staff reached out to several agencies and known contacts involved with teen group homes or teens in foster care place settings. This led to a few back and forth conversations by email and phone and one steady dialog with a teen group home in our community: the Hearts-Way Youth Shelter. This facility is a group home for teens placed in care of the state. With room for up to 30 teen residents to live if needed, the home had 13 teens residing there at any given time this summer.
One goal set out upon receiving the funds for the Summer Learning Resources Grant was to successfully engage a foster group home in a program. Another goal was to provide teens in care with individual books to own and books for a group home mini library. Through these goals, we aimed to promote reading for pleasure and encourage learning and engagement in educational and recreational activities even when school was not in session.
We at the library were thrilled by the participation this summer from Hearts-Way teens. Nine teens attended the DJ Dance Party. Four attended the Cupcake Wars program, and 12 were present at the Nailed it Art Contest outreach program that was brought to the group home. At the outreach program, library staff presented the teens with individual books to keep and a variety of books and books series for a mini library that could be enjoyed by teens currently in care and in the future. It was great to be able to offer these teens opportunities to learn, have fun, and socialize with others their age.
The relationship that library staff established with Hearts-Way is one that our library plans to continue building as we move forward and use as a guide as we reach out to other agencies and teens in our area. By remaining patient, flexible, passionate, and sincere in our efforts, library staff is optimistic that we can continuing fostering positive relationships with teens in care in our community and the agencies representing them.
This summer’s support from the Summer Resources Grant helped our library take a good step forward, and library staff was happy to see these teens at the library outside the program times for teen events, checking out books and materials!
Amy Skipper is a Youth Services Librarian at Tyler Public Library.
“I don’t like going to events like these with a lot of people I don’t know to somewhere I haven’t been before.” I was told this by a 13-year-old girl on the bus going to COSI (Center of Science and Industry), who was going only because her sister had talked her into it. By the end of the trip, she changed her tune to asking when we were going to be putting on another event like this one and if there was space for her to register for it. We were happy to see the sisters return to the library for the National Teen Library Lock-In event.
This is just one success story of many that we encountered in our trip with teens to COSI. Seeing the friendships formed, connections made, and being able to encourage the youth of our community made this trip a successful example of our library’s mission statement: “We open doors for curious minds, foster a love of reading, encourage exploration and discovery, enable learning, and inspire creativity by connecting people with information, ideas, and each other.”
For our community, United Way states 46% of the Muskingum County population lives below the “ALICE Threshold” (OUW.org, 2019). This acronym describes how a significant segment of the community suffers from Asset, Limited, Income, Constrained, Employed circumstances. Such terminology means, even while employed, many families still suffer from economic disparity. Many students from Muskingum County, an Appalachian community, confront socioeconomic challenges that limit their perspective and educational/career options. Often students remain unacquainted with possible future job possibilities. An unfortunate “interest gap” further complicates the issue (Boyington, 2018). Public libraries can help stimulate interests in these STEM fields with outreach programs that highlight the opportunity for youth patrons.
COSI (2019) is recognized nationally as a trusted educational resource encompassing STEM for all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. This field trip offered an opportunity for Muskingum County youth to learn and engage in an immersive environment (Ramlo, 2019). Careers of the future will require STEM education, and our trip to COSI supports this goal. To incorporate such outreach programming ensures public libraries respond to their respective community and respond to future educational and economic trends (Bartlett and Bos, 2018). Such programming also counteracts financial obstacles.
A reduced stress environment is beneficial for motivating STEM youth learning. For this age demographic, formal educational structures serve as the primary resource. However, public libraries deliver education without the pressure of grade anxiety. The concept of Informal Science Education (ISE) proves relevant to public libraries. Organizations such as the MCLS can offer STEM opportunities without undue apprehension. The MCLS/COSI field trip provided a pathway to a STEM learning experience (National Science Foundation, 2019). Because of the generous funding provided by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, students attending the COSI Trip have witnessed STEM in action. Without this financial support, the MCLS would have been unable to provide for this summer learning event.
Caitlynn Melick, MLIS, is the Youth Services Manager for the Muskingum County Library System.
Bartlett, C., & Bos, L. (2018). STEAM Around the World: Successfully Incorporating Hands-On Learning and Diversity into Children’s Programming. Journal of Library Administration, 58(2), 174-182. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/01930826.2017.1392223
Boyington, S. C. (2018). INSPIRING the Next Generation of the STEM Workforce. Techniques: Connecting Education & Careers, 93(3), 22–27. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=128260808&site=ehost-live
“About COSI.” COSI, 2019, cosi.org/about-cosi.
National Science Foundation. (2019). Advancing Informal STEM Learning. Retrieved from https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=504793
Ohio United Way. (2019). ALICE. Retrieved from http://ouw.org/alice/?id=muskingumdiv#content-sidebar-wrap
Ramlo, S. (2019). Examining Urban, American, Middle-School Students’ Divergent Views of Nature Before and After a Field Trip to a University Field Station and Nature Preserve. Urban Review, 51(2), 231–246. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11256-018-0473-x
This year I have been privileged with the task of spreading the word about the teen intern grant we received through YALSA and the Dollar General Literacy program. It has been a challenging but fun process. The director and I were very excited once we found out that we were chosen for the grant this year, and spread the wonderful news right away. We started the process by going to the local Jr./Sr. high school and homeschooling groups in our area. We then made sure to promote to the eligible teens through putting ads in our local newspapers hoping to reach them, their parents, or anyone that might know of someone trying to get the kind of experiences this program provides. Of course we couldn’t forget promoting on Facebook and good old fashioned flyers around town. I found the marketing part to be a fun way to meet new faces and promote our local library and all of the amazing things we can offer our community.
Once we got the word out it was a slow start to applications being filled out and handed in. Living in a rural area (most of our patrons have to drive a distance) proved to be the challenging part of this process because there were many teens who could not apply because they did not have any way to get to the library each week. Closer to the deadline however, the applications finally started rolling in. Once we received all of the applications it was my responsibility to contact them all to set up interview times. This is the first year that I was given this responsibility and found it to be intimidating at first, but once everyone was contacted and given an interview date I found it to be very fulfilling and exciting. It is such an awesome feeling to get when you know that these kids look to you for guidance and acceptance. The first big step most of these kids are taking to better their futures! And I got to be part of that! The library director and I began and finished the interview process as a team with many new things to take from it. We started out strong, but finished even stronger. The hardest part was calling the children that did not get chosen and telling them they were not picked this year. I was able to give them confidence by telling them their strengths, giving them interviewing tips, and encouraging them to apply again in the future.
Here are some words from our teen interns:
Working as an intern at my local library helped me shape my future career-building experience. Ever since I signed up for the job, I was excited about being able to work in a library and explore the place I admittedly hadn’t until now. I regret that decision, but now that I know what it’s like to be a part of it, I know I’ll be coming back even after summer ends.
My internship consisted mostly of helping around the library with anything I could pick up. I admit, I vastly
underestimated the amount of running around I’d be doing, and now understand just some of the hard work that goes into what makes our libraries worth visiting. Amongst the duties I helped out with over the summer, some of it consisted of helping sort and arrange books and movies, checking books in and out, posting for the library’s social media pages, and last but certainly not least, assisting in the annual Summer Quest program held for kids under the age of 13. I had been given the opportunity to help set up crafts, take pictures, and even hold my own short reading event near the end of the program, where I picked out two books to read and helped the kids create their own craft based on the books we read together.
I learned so many values that I know I would appreciate going into future career fields, such as how much I enjoy being able to sort books, managing social media pages, and having understandable and considerate coworkers. I’m incredibly grateful for the experience I’ve had here at my local library and I immensely recommend those who are even slightly interested in the library and its programs to sign up next year.
Chloe Buzard, 2019 RMAML Summer Intern
My name is Hannah Fritsch and this summer I had the privilege of working as a summer intern at the Brookville Library. I pretty much knew what I was going to be doing, but nothing can prepare you for doing something like doing it.
I would help set up the crafts, make sure we had supplies, line up snacks, and do pretty much whatever the staff had for me to do. At the beginning of the program we would read two or three books to the kids, sing songs, and tell them about the craft. Then we would head over to the craft table and start it! I even got to do my own program. The kids almost always loved the craft and got so into it. I loved seeing their faces light up when they were finished, and then running over to show their mom.
Overall, I had a great time! All the library staff were really helpful and nice, the kids were happy, and I really enjoyed working with them both. I would love to do something like this again in the future!
Hannah Fritsch, 2019 RMAML Summer Intern
I think that this has not only been a great opportunity for the two wonderful girls chosen to be our interns for the summer but for me as well. There have been so many things learned and gained just from these past few months specifically, that I find it hard to narrow down. I enjoyed seeing their creativity and working through their insecurities. We were able to show them all of the different aspects of being a librarian and I would have to say my favorite part was allowing them to prepare a children’s program and execute it as if they were the coordinator. It gave me the chance to see my job from another point a view as well as give them hands on experience to see if this is something they would like to continue in the future. These girls have grown in so many ways as people and I am very proud of them. Needless to say I am very thankful for this program and have found the benefits from this program to be very inspiring.
Amanda Mignogna is the Youth Services Coordinator for the Rebecca M. Arthurs Memorial Library.
When we were initially envisioning the internship that the YALSA grant allowed us, the goals were fairly straightforward. We hoped to support the implementation of our summer learning program while also providing helpful work practice for the teen interns. Although there were some challenges in the beginning, what resulted was a much richer experience as the interns made deeper connections to their community and helped foster a sense of place for the children and families participating in our programs.
After partnering with the local high school’s work-based learning program and outlining the internship tasks and desired outcomes for the teens, we assumed recruiting for a paid internship would be easy with plenty of candidates to choose from. Aside from announcements during homeroom period and flyers in the hallways, we also utilized our community wide listserv called Front Porch Forum and other social media platforms to advertise the internship beyond the school. We even created a Google Form so that teens could apply online if they preferred rather than submitting the paper application. Despite all of the promotion, as the deadline to apply approached we had only two interested candidates. In debriefing with the lead teacher for the work-based learning program, one idea for next year is to change the timing of our recruitment efforts to either earlier before summer camp deadlines or later in the school year when teens might be thinking more about their needs for employment over the summer.
Luckily, our only two candidates were enthusiastic and interested in reading and working with children, and both had prior volunteer experience to bring to the internship. As the summer progressed, we were grateful that we decided to hire both instead of just one intern as we proposed when applying for the grant. Not only were they able to work together and support each other as they created the programs they would lead, they each brought a complementary approach to the work. Sophia loved the planning aspect and could spend hours fine-tuning the details of a program while Elizabeth really shined as she connected with each child participating during the events. Having two interns also made scheduling easier, and for our largest events it was great to have more helping hands.
Having teen interns allowed us to provide more programming to our small rural community of roughly 6,000 particularly on the weekends, which in turn encouraged more participation than we have seen in past years. Over 300 youth and their grown-ups learned about alien earth, the myths in our stars, and how to survive on mars; they tested their Star Wars trivia knowledge, strolled through the solar system, partied to the moon and back and built life sized make believe rocket ships. Most importantly, they spent time together creating a sense of community and place that will carry into the new school year and beyond.
From the interns’ reflections, there were some unexpected positive outcomes for them as well. Although initially unsettling for her, Elizabeth really appreciated the freedom to create and lead a program from start to finish and noted it really helped her become more confident in her decisions and actions. Sophia realized that after spending the last few years going to a different school, she felt somewhat detached from what was going on in her town. Through many little moments during the internship, she was able to do something for and reconnect with her community. Given the success both from the increased summer learning we could provide and the personal growth we saw in the teens, we hope to find a way to continue the internship program for the foreseeable future.
Cory Stephenson is the Library Director at Moretown Memorial Library.
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.
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.
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:
- Why did you apply for this internship?
- What interests you the most about the position?
- What do you hope to learn or take away from your internship experience?
- What are your career interests?
- How would you describe your work or study style? How do you approach assignments and big projects?
- Are you comfortable speaking in front of a group of people?
- 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.