Thanks to the YALSA Teen Summer Intern Grant, the Rancho Cucamonga Public Library was able to offer two teens the opportunity to be volunteer interns. Advertising for the internship began on April 1, 2019. The marketing included flyers and posters in both library locations, as well as a social media posts on the Library’s social media platforms. Both paper and online applications were available from April 15 to May 1. However, due to needing a parent or guardian’s signature on the application, a paper application was required to be turned in. In order to be considered, the applicants had to follow three requirements:
- Applicants had to be between the ages of 16-18 during the internship
- Teens had to commit to intern for the full ten weeks to receive their stipend
- Interns were required to work three specific dates during the Summer Reading Program.
The review process was determined by teen services staff. Twenty-seven applications were turned in. The applicants were screened by age and availability in terms of the three requirements listed above. They were then ranked based on their answers to the application questions such as volunteer experience, hobbies and interests, current use of the library, and overall professional demeanor. Based on the ranking system the top 8 were offered interviews. These interviews were held over two days in which teen services staff asked teens about their strengths and weakness, why the wished to intern at the Library, experience working with children and teens, etc. Of the 27 applicants, teen services staff made two offers for the internships.
At the start of their ten-week internship, Morea and Nayana were given a two-day orientation and tours of both Library facilities by teen services staff. Each week the interns focused their time with a division of the Library including Children’s Services, Technology Services, Second Story Services, Teen and Tween Services, and Circulation Services. This rotation between the divisions allowed the interns to work with different supervising styles and exposed them to various facets of the Library. They were also given opportunities to learn hard and soft skills including copier skills, Google Docs, using office equipment properly, working on communication skills, teamwork, collaboration, and trying new things.
Getting started was a struggle in terms of Human Resources and Risk Management. There have never been teen interns at the Library, and therefore no pre-existing structure for us to follow. Our process was delayed from our original plan due to some logistical matters with HR. This impacted what information was available for the orientation, as well as some steps the interns had to take later in their internship to receive their stipend. We also learned that it was best to market our internship as “Summer Volunteer Teen Internship” to satisfy what we wanted to come across as well as what HR needed. Overall, timing was the biggest factor to keep in mind, but once it was all set-in motion it was an enjoyable experience that we would do again.
Brittany Garcia is the Young Adult Services Librarian and Janet Monterrosa is the Library Technician at Rancho Cucamonga Public Library.