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 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 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 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.

2019 Teen Summer Intern Program: Amazing Teens Provide Inspiration – Grant Mentor Experience of a Seasoned Librarian

Children gather near large toy castles.

Memories of “Universe of Stories” with creative aliens including our YALSA/ Dollar General Summer Teen Intern, Angel.

During the 2018-2019 School Year, I was invited to start attending the SAC meetings for a local high school’s magnet programs. As the only adult services librarian of a small library, I certainly did not need more things to do, especially when much of my time is spent doing administrative tasks such as planning a major renovation project, purchasing, managing budget lines, and processing related paperwork. I was honored to attend as I’m a people person and the Community’s Librarian, I feel it is vital to be engaged with the community in different ways.

While attending the SAC meetings, I learned that students in some of the magnet programs were required to do an internship and all students were required to volunteer. Teachers told me that finding paid internships was difficult but necessary for many of the students who need to help their families with a paycheck. I informed the board that I could certainly provide internship opportunities for a few students but was not able to pay for them.  Over 90% of the students in our city limits qualify for free or reduced lunch programs at the neighborhood schools so when I saw the Dollar General/ YALSA Summer Teen Intern Grant program I eagerly applied knowing this would help someone in my community if I received the grant.

I was thrilled to be chosen and created job ads for the positions. Knowing our library would be closing down for renovations in the end of July, I decided to create two positions for the first busy weeks of the Summer Reading Program. Not only did we post the job at the front service desk but I recruited students at the high school during their “Dress for Success” job skills event. I collaborated with our HR and Finance Departments and the teens had to fill out the same application that we have for any job openings at our Village. I conducted interviews for the position following the same types of questions and scoring guidelines as I do for our part time circulation clerk position. Two teens stood apart from the group which attests to great mentoring by library staff as both top candidates had been part of our youth volunteer programs and one was an officer of our Teen Advisory Board. Both students were able to answer the questions clearly and articulate their answers by describing their experiences working with people or technology. Both were dressed to impress! The young man had even shined their shoes!

The interview process led me to begin a Youth Leadership Series for the summer to teach job preparation skills and introduce teens to the public library and its services. The two YALSA Summer Interns participated in this series that covered aspects of differences between public libraries, Library Advocacy, local government, the importance of getting to know the organization when one starts in a new job as well as many tips about how to fill out an application, creating a resume, and preparing for an interview.  

YALSA/ Dollar General Intern, Sofia, reading to the Preschool Storytime Class.

YALSA/ Dollar General Intern, Sofia, reading to the Preschool Storytime Class.

 

Angel working with children, caregivers and other Youth Volunteers during the craft he planned for the class.

Angel working with children, caregivers and other Youth Volunteers during the craft he planned for the class.

In addition to the Youth Leadership series and assisting patrons to sign up for the Summer Reading Program, the YALSA Summer interns had a special project during the Summer Reading Program with the Children’s Librarian. They each were given a book and a craft they were responsible for presenting during Bilingual Preschool Storytime. They engaged the attendees in activities by asking questions and allowing interaction with the book. Both interns learned about early literacy education, the reasons for: placement of furniture/ items in the room and why there is social time in the Children’s Section of the library prior to storytime as well as the importance of routines for early learners. Interacting with preschoolers can be a challenge and both learned flexibility and how to “think on their feet”. In addition to storytimes, they assisted our Children’s Librarian with several other summer library programs such as our PAWS-to-Read with a Delta certified Reading Dog. 

Working with the interns and other teen volunteers was definitely the spark I needed this summer! 

Sofia overseeing a Youth Volunteer and the PAWS-to-Read program with Village of Palm Springs Summer Camp children and other patrons.

Sofia overseeing a Youth Volunteer and the PAWS-to-Read program with Village of Palm Springs Summer Camp children and other patrons.

 

Suvi Manner is the Library Director at Palm Springs Public Library, FL. You can contact her at smanner@vpsfl.org. To others interested in this project: I am available to provide feedback about working with teams with other staff when mentoring teens/ youth volunteers as well as any insight about working with HR and Finance Departments when administering a grant. Our library is also very active in community outreach and partnering with other organizations to serve the community.

2019 Teen Summer Intern Program: Teen Interns Contribute to Making a Community Library Brighter

The Charlotte Mecklenburg library system in a large library system with many teen volunteers across twenty branches. Our focus for the grant this year was to choose a branch that does not have a high recruitment and retention rate for teen volunteers. Our Sugar Creek branch is in a low-income and widely served area in our county, and in the past, we have had teens not complete the summer volunteering program at this branch.

Three teens pose in the library.

Our teen interns were integral to making some of our summer programs a success. Summer Interns assisted with our Summer Reading Kickoff at the beginning of summer. Each intern operated a STEAM station and helped the Children’s Department with various projects such as, prepping Summer Reading materials, Summer Reading registration, book displays, and programs. They maintained weekly shelf-reading assignments which included pulling duplicate copies from our fiction and nonfiction collection as well as processed Book Sale items, and they have assisted the Circulation Department by pulling morning holds and processing daily delivery. 

The teen interns were asked which experience this summer was the most meaningful, and each of them gave a different view of why libraries are so important for teens. One of our interns, Treyson, also volunteered to be Clifford the Big Red Dog as part of the Summer Reading Kickoff. As Treyson was dressed as Clifford the Big, Red Dog in the summer sun, he said that even though it was a very hot costume, he “didn’t have to wear it” and that he “wanted to”, especially seeing how happy it made the children to see him.

Three teens pose in the library.

Aleah shared about a moment when she was shelving in the children’s department, there was a child who told her she did not have anyone to play with. So, Aleah started coloring on the chalkboard with her, and she commented that she enjoyed spending time with the child, instead of leaving her alone. Aleah also stated that volunteering “gave her an excuse to read”. She never put books on hold before this summer, and now has a large stack. She also discovered ebooks and audiobooks and sometimes requests them at the same time!

Kaliyah has goals to become a graphic designer, and during this internship, she spent time with a staff person who is also an artist. The staff member gave her tips for her art and showed her how she can market her art as well. This internship gave her a connection she may have not made before.

Three teens pose in the library.

Giving the teens several opportunities to work and collaborate with each other and library staff really benefited Sugar Creek. They were able to shine through their different personalities and have a fun experience, while learning how a library operates. This experience showed growth in each of the teens as well. By giving them a variety of tasks, they were able to find their niche, and they had a very positive impression of the library. By making the tasks fun and diverse, the teens committed 229 hours this summer, and there was no concern about retention.

 

Hayley Burson is a Teen Librarian at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

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.