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: Jeudevine Memorial 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.

2019 Summer Learning Resources Grant: Reaching out to Teens in Group Homes

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.

Teens dancing at a DJ Dance Party event.

Teens dancing at a DJ Dance Party event.

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.

A variety of Young Adult books and book series were donated to teens in care.

A variety of Young Adult books and book series were donated to teens in care.

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.

Teens from Hearts-Way were challenged to recreate or reinvent a famous artwork in the outreach program: Nailed It Art Contest. The winner recreated The Scream by Edvard Munch.

Teens from Hearts-Way were challenged to recreate or reinvent a famous artwork in the outreach program: Nailed It Art Contest. 

Teens from Hearts-Way were challenged to recreate or reinvent a famous artwork in the outreach program: Nailed It Art Contest. The winner recreated The Scream by Edvard Munch.

The winner recreated The Scream by Edvard Munch.

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.

2019 Summer Learning Resources Grant: Offsite Programming Extends Opportunities for Youth

“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.Teens take a trip to the Center of Science and Industry

Teens take a trip to the Center of Science and Industry

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.

Teens take a trip to the Center of Science and Industry

Teens take a trip to the Center of Science and Industry

Teens take a trip to the Center of Science and Industry

 

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. 

 

Teens take a trip to the Center of Science and Industry

Teens take a trip to the Center of Science and Industry

Caitlynn Melick, MLIS, is the Youth Services Manager for the Muskingum County Library System.

 

References

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

2019 Teen Summer Intern Program: Rebecca M. Arthurs Memorial Library

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.

Rebecca M. Arthurs Memorial Library summer internship.

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. 

Rebecca M. Arthurs Memorial Library summer internship.

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

 

Rebecca M. Arthurs Memorial Library summer internship.

 

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

Rebecca M. Arthurs Memorial Library summer internship.

 

Rebecca M. Arthurs Memorial Library summer internship.

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.

Rebecca M. Arthurs Memorial Library summer internship.

 

Amanda Mignogna is the Youth Services Coordinator for the Rebecca M. Arthurs Memorial Library.

2019 Teen Summer Intern Program: Creating a Sense of Place and Community with Teen Interns

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. 

Teens pose outdoors.

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.

 

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 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 Summer Learning Resources Grant: Summer STEAM Squad at the Lockport Branch Public Library

Lockport Branch Public Library was very grateful to be selected for the 2019 YALSA/Dollar General Summer Learning Resources Grant. The Lockport Branch Public Library is one of nine branches of the Lafourche Parish Public Library System. We are located in southernmost part of Louisiana. Our area is largely rural, with nearly 27% of households without internet access, making the library necessary for our patrons’ recreational and educational needs. Recent library programs have shown a marked increase of interest in S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics), but many adolescents and teens lack the resources, skills, and mentoring needed to expand their knowledge to succeed in future career paths and to benefit their communities.

A teen plays with lego bricks.

My Planet Rover w/ Lego Mindstorms

Our YALSA/Dollar General Summer Learning Resources Grant focused introducing teens to various aspects relating to STEAM, and generating interest in new technologies for a better tomorrow. With the grant, we were able to provide programs throughout the summer to the central area of Lafourche Parish. Each program theme tied into this year’s Summer Reading Program theme, A Universe of Stories.

A teen plays with lego bricks.

My Planet Rover w/ Lego Mindstorms

In the past, our teen program attendance rate has been lower than our children and adult programs offered during the summer months. To entice teens, we hosted 6-STEAM related programs over a 2 month period. Our teens were able to construct and build a Dobsonian telescope, create original bilingual hybrid media pop-up books, learn coding for web design, build and code with Lego Mindstorms, and learn the importance of clean water and sustainability. One of our main goals was to educate teens on STEAM related careers, as they are mostly exposed to agricultural and oil-field related careers. We strived to provide a safe space where our teens could learn math and engineering skills in a fun and non-formal way. Another main goal was to improve teen program attendance at programs during the summer reading program. Comparing this year’s attendance to last year’s, the Lockport Branch showed substantial improvement in program attendance.

A teen does a water purification experiment.

STEAM Squad: Water Purification

Teens play with popup books.

Hybrid Popup Books

In the future, we would like some of these programs to travel to school events in our parish, such as school job fairs, to reach more teens of Lafourche Parish. We hope to also partner with our local Louisiana State University Agricultural Center (LSU Ag Center, which provides Louisiana citizens with research-based educational information that will improve their lives and economic well-being) to offer more programs about the importance of health and sustainability. 

 

 

Katie Cheramie is the Central Area Administrator for Lockport Branch Public Library.

2019 Teen Summer Intern Program: Cecil County Public Library

In the spring of 2019, Cecil County Public Library was pleased to accept a YALSA Teen Summer Intern Grant of $1,000, enabling us to hire a local teen to assist with the 2019 Summer Reading and Learning Program.

While we knew the decision would be difficult, our first step was to recruit and select our summer intern. One goal we identified for our internship program was to provide the intern with an introduction to essential job and career skills, as this program was the first opportunity for many of our applicants to apply for a job. Knowing we wanted to introduce the teen applicants to a real-world hiring process, we created an application packet similar to what we use for adults applying for other positions at the library. This packet included a professional job description, application, essay question, and call for references. Rather than focusing primarily on work experience, we adapted many of our questions to focus on the applicants’ extracurricular or volunteer activities, leadership experiences, skills, and interests.

To promote the internship opportunity, we shared the application with the teen services staff at library branches across the county. Having close relationships with the teens, these staff members were able to share the opportunity directly with teens in their communities. We also leveraged the close relationship we have with the local school district, sharing the application with the school librarians at the area high schools. This word-of-mouth approach was very successful, as we received many applications for the position.

Knowing we could only hire one intern for the summer, we then scheduled interviews. Keeping with our goal of introducing the teens to real-world job standards, we conducted full professional interviews with the applicants. This was the first experience for all of our applicants to participate in an interview process, and while many were nervous, we did our best to keep a light, conversational tone to make them feel at ease. While we included many of our standard interview questions used with all new hires, “Why are you interested in this position?” “Please tell us about your prior experiences,” etc., we also incorporated questions that were more fun for the teens, giving us a better window into their personalities, motivations, and interests. We asked them to tell us about their favorite books, choose three words they or others would use to describe them, and share some of the things they hoped to do at the library this summer.

Although the decision was difficult, we ultimately selected Hannah, a 17-year-old long-time library user and member of our Teen Advisory Group, to participate as our 2019 summer intern. Hannah’s love of the library, volunteer experiences, and interest in working in librarianship were just a few of the many reasons we selected her as our intern. 

With the hiring process complete, we then worked with Hannah to make a plan for the summer. Having recently completed a book study with all teen services staff of YALSA’s Putting Teens First in Library Services: A Road Map, we recognized the importance of following the principles of the Connected Learning Model and designing an interest-driven internship experience for Hannah. Having talked with Hannah about her interests and skills, future goals, and what she hoped to gain from the internship, we worked together to design a program that would give her opportunities to use these skills in the library setting. 

Hannah holding up a book she reviewed

Hannah holding up a book she reviewed.

Hannah was very interested in teen services, so one of her main responsibilities this summer was in assisting the teen library staff with their programs for the Summer Reading and Learning program. Hannah is an avid artist and photographer, and she was able to assist in programs by running art stations at our Teen Nights, taking photos, and helping to engage younger teens in activities. She is also interested in science and technology and was essential in helping to run the “Drone Pilot for a Day” program, the “Painting with Robots” program using Sphero robots, and the “NASA Universe Discovery” astronomy program series for middle school teens.

In addition to assisting with programming, Hannah put her artistic and STEM skills to work this summer by creating engaging bulletin boards and displays for our Young Adult section and conducting a training for teen services staff on using newly acquired technology for programming, including Nintendo Switch, Oculus Go, and Ozobots. Hannah is also an avid reader of Young Adult fiction, so when she was not assisting with programs, she worked on a project to create staff recommendations of her favorite books to add to the Young Adult shelves and on the teen page of the library’s website.

While many of Hannah’s projects and responsibilities this summer were directly related to her interest in assisting with teen services, we also recognized the importance of introducing her to a well-rounded view of the library, giving her opportunities to shadow and assist with additional departments. In addition to working with the teen services department, Hannah spent time shadowing the children’s library staff and assisting with early childhood storytimes, riding on the bookmobile and helping with outreach visits, shadowing the circulation staff and assisting with customer service, and helping to serve summer lunches. These opportunities gave Hannah practice in many aspects of library service, providing her an in-depth view of working in a library.

Hannah standing with our teen services librarian in front of a bulletin board she made.

Hannah standing with our teen services librarian in front of a bulletin board she made.

Hannah doing a training on Ozobots for our youth services staff.

Hannah doing a training on Ozobots for our youth services staff.

Through the internship program, we hope working at Cecil County Public Library this summer has helped Hannah to grow her customer service skills, communication skills, knowledge of professional working standards, and comfort level working with the public, all of which are essential for future success in whichever profession she chooses. As a library, we have learned through this experience the importance of providing opportunities for teens to contribute to the library in meaningful ways, acting as leaders and using their skills and interests to inspire our patrons and staff. 

 

Katelyn McLimans is the Youth Services Coordinator at Cecil County Public Library.