2019 Teen Summer Intern Program: Ford Memorial Library

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

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

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

From Harrison:

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

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

 

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

2019 Summer Learning Resources Grant: When Summer Learning Deviates From the Plan on Paper

In the past six months I’ve learned a lot about collaborating, co-teaching and co-leading, recruiting, planning, marketing, career and job readiness, and most importantly, teenagers. The YALSA Summer Learning Resources grant was the first grant application I ever wrote, and I was humbled to be selected and given the chance to execute an educational library program (career and job readiness) with a unique twist (the culminating experience would be shopping for a professional interview outfit).

To prepare for summer, I worked with the high school principal and counselors, staff at the Boys & Girls Club, and appealed to teens directly. I spoke with parents, put an ad in our local paper, and held meetings with students. But as summer ticked closer, I grew more frantic, faced with a sparse participant roster. Most teens halfheartedly expressed interest but withheld their full commitment, holding out instead for a potential job at Hardee’s, Pizza King, or the local watermelon fields. 

In the end, my program reached a younger audience than I had anticipated. I worked mostly with teens ages 12-16. This would not be a crowd ready to shop for a professional interview outfit – they had years before entering the full-time workforce, and they were bound for plenty of changes in those years. 

Teens taking the Holland Code quiz.

Teens taking the Holland Code quiz.

The curriculum I executed, in which we discussed teamwork, hobbies and extracurricular activities, and communication with adults, was very different from the curriculum I had envisioned: streamlining resumes, serious mock interviews, and on-the-job excellence. The teens were younger, gigglier, and flightier – they weren’t tied up with work, but dealt with unstable housing arrangements, sports practices, and babysitting younger siblings. Even from this group it was impossible to get firm, eight-week commitments. 

Instead of the program I proposed and envisioned, I threw my enthusiasm into the people in front of me, holding my head high even when only two or three teens showed up for a meeting. I focused on planting seeds and didn’t stress about teaching it all. We didn’t purchase interview outfits, but our teens were able to earn a “stipend” with their attendance at meetings and instead purchased new school uniforms, school supplies, or equipment to help them reach their professional or educational goals.

A page from a teen's dialogue journal.

A page from a teen’s dialogue journal.

A page from a teen's dialogue journal.

A page from a teen’s dialogue journal.

It’s hard to see a grant-funded program deviate from your vision. It’s different from an isolated flop because there’s more time, effort, and energy woven in – it feels like there’s more at stake, because it’s something you’re doing very publicly. I’ve learned that there’s still a lot to learn about how, when, where, and why teens will congregate for an event, which motivates me and inspires me to keep going, keep trying. 

I won’t disregard this experience or pretend it never happened; it was painful and confusing at times, but never a waste. I now have a better understanding of my patrons. I now have new partners with my same passion for youth, and plenty of notes on what worked and didn’t work with this particular attempt. My plan going forward is to continue to lean into each encounter – each fumble and each success. 

Abby Davis is a Youth Services Librarian at Laurel Public Library.

2019 Teen Summer Intern Program: Tips and Tricks to Make your Internship Program Successful

For the second year in a row, the Walkersville Branch Library, a small rural suburb located just North of Washington, D.C., hosted their annual Summer Lunch Program. With free lunch served daily for an average of 85 children and teens, we needed not only a friendly face to welcome our hungry families, but one who had the organization and quick-thinking skills to jump in wherever needed, even after the last juice box was given away.

From the last week of June through the first week of August, “Ms. Lydia” greeted our families, served up a quick lunch, signed up families for our Summer Challenge, and assisted with program preparation and administration. We were truly grateful for her service and assistance throughout some of our busiest times at the library.

However, we learned some things too. Managing a teen intern is very different then managing a regularly employed library staff member. 

So, here are our TOP 8 TIPS for those libraries interested in hiring a teen intern in the future:

  1. Require those interested candidates to drop off their application at the library. While email or online submission is easiest for those who are applying, requiring a quick visit to the library gives you an immediate snapshot into the individual on a relaxed basis. Did they drop off the application and run? Did they hang out to snag a library card? Are they a familiar face? 
  2. Offer an opportunity for those not chosen to receive some feedback on their application and interview. Not only is it valuable for them, but it forces us to step outside of our comfort zone and provide constructive feedback.
  3. Be honest with the amount of time that you are expecting from the intern. Teens don’t reside in a vacuum, and it can be frustrating to find out that their caregivers are expecting them for a family vacation that may take place in the middle of their required work time. 
  4. Set boundaries with your teen intern in the workplace.  If the teen gets a lunch break, will they feel welcome to take it in the break room?
  5. Be Specific about their daily job tasks and goals. Make sure to always have plenty of additional work to do if you find your intern completes their tasks in a more than timely fashion. 
  6. Welcome them when they arrive, and thank them when they leave. Yes, they were hired to do a “job” but learning the concepts of workplace creation are equally as important as the job they were hired to do. 
  7. The exit interview is just as important as the entrance interview. It can provide you with valuable information for the following year’s internship.  
  8. Work with the Workforce Development or Job Coordinator at your local school. They will know    the ins and outs of the work permit (should your state require it), and they will also have information about comparable internships and jobs in your area.  

 

Betsey Brannen is the Children’s Services Supervisor for Frederick County Public Libraries – Walkersville.

Community Engagement, Workforce Development, and the Oboe

This post was originally published as a monthly reflection by Future Ready with the Library cohort member Hannah Buckland.

From last February through this February, I participated in the Native Community Development Institute (NCDI), an opportunity organized by the Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP). Three northern MN tribes each appointed seven-member teams, and MHP supported each team in planning a community-based project of our choice. The Leech Lake team–with representatives from K-12 education, telecom, HR, gaming, housing, planning, and the library–selected the huge task of building a workforce development center. Over the year, MHP guided our work through six in-person, two-day NCDI workshops where we learned about project management, leadership, partnerships, policy advocacy, and community engagement. When I first read the call for Future Ready applicants, I immediately connected these two projects.

Future Ready has us viewing community engagement from the perspective of librarians; however, for a sliver of time each week, I’m not a librarian but rather a person living in Bemidji, Minnesota. During this time, personally, community engagement happens through music, specifically through playing the oboe in a community concert band. When I first began playing at age ten, a band director told me that to form a proper embouchure, I should whisper the word “home” and close my mouth around the reed just as I reached the M sound, lips curling softly over teeth. I spent years teaching myself oboe, sitting on my bedroom floor with method books (ILL-ed through my public library before I knew what ILL was), awkwardly and repeatedly whispering “home” until muscle memory finally took hold. After high school band ended, I joined my first community band and have found one everywhere I’ve lived since. Without music, I’m not sure how I would create my sense of community, of home. Continue reading

YALS Summer 2016 – Workplace Expectations for Today’s Library

cover of summer issue of YALS with pathway/map and images related to college career readinessThe theme of the summer issue of YALS (digital edition available now to members & subscribers via the Members Only section of the YALSA website) is college and career readiness. When thinking about being career ready it’s important to remember that library staff working with teens always have to be ready to support the needs of teens of the current age, and be able to work in the current library environment. Kimberly Sweetman’s article in this issue of the journal focuses on five areas library staff have to be ready to navigate in order to succeed in today’s library. You have to read the article to find out what those five areas are, but here are the resources Kimberly suggests you check-out to learn more about succeeding with current library workplace expectations:

Active Listening: Hear What People are Really Saying.”

Alessandra, Tony, “The Platinum Rule.”
Continue reading

Back to School Week -Day One

 

September is traditionally back to school time, so get ready because it’s coming soon.  With some teens in their senior year of high school many may be thinking about what they will be doing when they finish with things like; jobs, vocational/technical/college.  How can you in your libraries help teens get ready?  Here are some links that provide resources and some possible program ideas you may incorporate to help your teens to make some decisions.

College/technical/vocational School Resources:

Accrediting Commission of Careers Schools and Colleges

Campus Pride Campus Pride represents the only national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for LGBT students.

Casey Family Services – Information on financial aid and scholarships and much more for youth in foster care

College Board and Khan Academy free practice tests and other resources to help prepare for college.

Developing the Next Generation of Latino Leaders  internships, fellowships, scholarships, financial aid information and more for Latino students.

Federal Student Aid information through the U. S. Department of Education  lays out all of the steps in order to think about colleges, identifying colleges and applying to colleges.

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEARUP) through the U.S. Department of Education a grant program to increase the number of low-income students to succeed in postsecondary education.

Homework Help Programs (webinar) learn how you can offer free or fee based homework help programs in your library.

List of Community Colleges in the United States 

NAACP Youth and College Division

Orphan Foundation of America – Scholarship opportunities and Educational and Training Vouchers for foster youth.

Real Work Matters vocational school database

Trade Schools Guide 

U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Postsecordary Institutions and Programs

U.S. Department of Education Career Colleges and Technical Schools

YALSA College and Career Readiness site

Continue reading

Amplified! Speaking the Language of Management

YALSA President Shannon Peterson and I have been talking about her presidential theme of Amplified: Speaking Up for Teens and Libraries, and we were discussing the effort to build strong ties between YALSA and our members and library administrators. In May and June, I wrote a six-part series for this blog on how to work with library managers and administrators. Those posts were based partly on a survey that YALSA conducted of members who identified as supervisors and managers. One of the things we asked was what were some of the buzz words, lingo, and hot topics that made managers prick up their ears and listen. So here are some of those terms and ways you might incorporate them into your conversations with your managers:

ROI. This is manager-speak for “return on investment.” It’s really pretty straightforward. Managers want to know that if the library invests time, money, personnel, and equipment on a service, program, or collection, there will be some return on that investment. What kind of return? Maybe you can demonstrate that the effort you invested in putting on a dynamite program resulted in increased circulation in a particular area or from a particular demographic. Maybe adding a service, like homework help, resulted in reaching a previously under-served segment of the community. The more you can collect data (track circulation before and after the program; keep count of the number of new cards that were issued to participants in a new program or service, etc.), the easier it will be for you to show your managers how much return you got from your investment. Continue reading