As professionals who work with youth, we understand that volunteering is one way that teens can increase their social and academic development while giving back to the community at large. With many high schools instituting service credit criteria for graduation, teens are in need of opportunities to fulfill these requirements. What better time to evaluate your library’s volunteer opportunities for teens than at the beginning of a new year! What better place than the library, the hub of the community, at which to volunteer! Here are just a few of the ways that libraries can help teens make a difference:

‘· Teen advisory group members
‘· Reading mentors/“Book Buddies”
‘· Make-It, Take-It craft assistants
‘· Peer homework tutors
‘· Technology coaches (from gadgets and gizmos to Facebook and Skype)
‘· Pages/shelf-readers
‘· Teen department merchandisers
‘· Friends of the Library book sale assistants
‘· Library “Street Team” members
‘· Summer Reading Program assistants (check-in, prize distribution, etc.)
‘· DVD and CD cleaners

Volunteer opportunities can be as dynamic and enriching as you make them, so why not make them as fun and rewarding as you can. Not only will your service-minded teens learn a great deal from the experience, be it about the library, the community, or themselves, but your library will gain so much from their involvement as well.

3 Thoughts on “Volunteens @ Your Library

  1. Great volun-teen ideas. We have a large Teen Center which our volunteers help us decorate. Currently we have paper snowflakes in a window and 17 “literary snowmen” filling empty wall space (paper snowmen ‘dressed’ as book characters: see here: )

  2. Can you explain Teen department merchandisers a little more?

  3. By teen department merchandisers, I mean enlisting the teens to help create eye-catching, relevant displays while adhering to the library’s merchandising standards. Whether it’s a hands-on “Merch Night” where teens come in for an hour to create displays or a brainstorming session where they come up with ideas that I can act upon, the teens are empowered and invested in both the department and the library and have volunteered their time to give back to both.

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