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Teen Services Web

A professional development guide for Teen Librarians, Teen Liaisons, and anyone else fortunate enough to work with Teens in the Library.

Supervising Volunteers

Teens are eager to help and please. They do not always have the best communication skills, which can be misinterpreted as being unfriendly or not wanting to learn. A couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Teens are still developing emotionally and socially. Every person is different: some will be more mature than others. Be patient as they learn how to relate to others in a working environment. Part of our mission as teen services librarians, liaisons or specialists is to help teens grow in social-emotional ways. We can do this by preparing them for the workforce and gently showing them which behavior(s) are, and are not, acceptable in the work environment. Teen Services exists for teens! Below is an image highlighting ways adults can support teens in acquiring social-emotional skills.  A full list of the 40 Developmental Assets (by the Search Institute) is available here.
  • Yes, teens are usually volunteering to earn community service hours for college applications, BUT they could go anywhere to do that. They have chosen to volunteer at your library! Make the experience a positive one by including the teen as part of the team with branch staff.
  • Most teens are uncomfortable being in the role of working with you and other staff members who are. . adults! If you think about it, most of their interaction with adults is in the form of authority: parents, teachers, coaches. You will have to be patient and welcoming for the teens to become comfortable working with your branch staff.

Tracking Hours

Off-site Volunteers

All the off-site teen volunteer hours will be submitted to Organizational Health together. At the end of the month, teens will report their hours directly to one off-site liaison. If your teens are used to reporting to you, coordinate with (currently Daniella Toll) to report off-site teen volunteer hours.

In-Person Volunteers

You, as the teen liaison, will be the direct supervisor for teen volunteers. At the end of each month, coordinate with your branch's volunteer liaison to submit volunteer hours to Organizational Health's SAPL Volunteer Services Teams team, in the Volunteers Reports channel.

Keep organized

  • Ensure branch staff know where volunteer applications, fliers and giveaways are so they can welcome teens at your location. (You may miss the one time a teen comes into the branch is when you are out to lunch.)
  • Keep a copy of your in-person volunteer hours in a place you can refer to them easily. Teens may need you to fill out a confirmation of the total number of hours they have volunteered at your location.
  • Keep first page of application, with emergency contact information, in a secure place. Ask volunteers to confirm emergency information is up-to-date every year.

Confirming Volunteer Hours

When teens are ready to submit their hours to the school or organization, you can send their confirmation letter. You can either email this to the teen, or have them come to the branch to pick it up.