Katie Anderson, Youth Services Consultant for the Oregon State Library says when the Virtual Road Trip was proposed, she “immediately thought about all the Oregon libraries tweaking their teen programs in small and big ways to provide more college and career readiness activities. Attached is just one example of what Oregon libraries are doing.”oregon

TLC Interviews—Preparing Teens for Real-Life!

By Dawn Borgardt, Beaverton City Library

It’s not a new idea, and many of you probably already do this. I just started last year, so I want to add my two-cents to the conversation in favor of formalizing your Teen Library Council (or whatever you call it at your library). Last year, we instituted an application process in the month of July and interviewed every applicant. Interviews were short and we accepted everyone who interviewed –it’s not really a process of weeding out the unqualified as it is finding out who is really interested and committed. We only asked three questions during the interview, so each interview took about 15 minutes. When you multiply that by 17 and add the time it took our Volunteer Manager to schedule the interviews, it does take extra staff time. But the payoff is so worth it!

Several great things came out of the interviews:

  • I got to meet each member one-on-one before the first official event.
  • We got to go over expectations (meeting attendance, participation in program planning and execution) together, and that made it much easier to hold members to those expectations as the school year progressed.
  • Each member had the experience of going to an interview. For many, it was their first one! This is great practice for the world of jobs, scholarships, and college.
  • The tone was set for the year—this was a group that was going to get things done!

2013 at tables with Jan_Feb teen scene

And they did get things done. The TLC members at Beaverton were insanely productive this year, planning lots of teen events, helping out with a building-wide energy audit, and helping with Children’s programs. I think it would have been a lot harder to do this without the solid framework we set in the interview process. This year, we’ll have open applications in July and interviews in early August again. Last year, I worried we wouldn’t get enough applicants. This year, I have the opposite worry –what will I do if there are too many?

Photo credit: Dawn Borgardt, Beaverton City Library

Photo subjects all signed permission release forms, they are: Nal, Lauren, Karina, Katie (almost hidden), Stephen, Vineta, Celie, Brianna, Emily and Joanna.


One Thought on “Virtual Road Trip: Oregon

  1. Teena Nelson on February 10, 2014 at 12:15 pm said:

    what age group did you start with and ages you came in with? (like middle school 6th grade and up or just high school?)
    could you let me know your questions asked?
    how about commitment after throughout your year?
    thanks for the info…

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