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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.

Interview Potential Teen Volunteers

Take time to get to know the teens who come in to your branch asking about volunteering. Let them know it is not all about books and organizing; but about community engagement and showcasing the talents and skills of teens with free events and activities.

How do I interview teen volunteers?
It is not super formal! Smile! Be friendly and warm. Ask potential teen volunteers about hobbies and interests. Sometimes, teens will come by and ask about volunteering when you are not at the branch. Consider asking your coworkers to give the Teen Volunteering Interest Form to the teen, along with the Teen Volunteer Application, so that you can at least know a little bit about the teen.

Not enough/ too many volunteers

How do I get teens to come volunteer at my library?

A great way to recruit quality teen volunteers to talk to the guidance counselor at your local high school. Try creating a flier (digital and paper), take it to the counselor's office with a stack of your business cards, so the counselor can give them to students. Follow up with an email and send the digital version of your flier. Whenever you are hosting another volunteer orientation, email the guidance counselor at least two weeks ahead of time, so they can invite their students to your event.

What if I am overrun with teens asking to volunteer? And they all want community service hours?

Let these teens know you really need leaders at your location. This is the perfect opportunity to facilitate teen-led events at your location! You will need to work with your manager to think outside the box on services at the library to be able to allow the teens to take a leadership role.

Take time to talk to the teens about their interests and let them know the library has all the help they need on shelving and organizing. If they want to volunteer at the library, they need to be the kind of people to lead events and clubs for teens. Maybe team them up with other volunteers, or ask them if any of their friends will help them come up with ideas of free events they could host.

Think big! What if you could share power with these young people to the point that there were teen events every day of the week at your location, led completely by teen volunteers? You would then be in the role of the facilitator, taking pictures, buying them the supplies they need, supporting and encouraging them to excel at the skills and hobbies they enjoy.

Strengths Based Interview Questions for Teen Volunteers

by Dacari Lambert

Conducting a strengths-based interview will allow you to get to know your volunteer and their strengths; sometimes it helps them get to know their own strengths as well! This can help you identify tasks in the branch that they would find rewarding and also be successful at.

Strengths-based interview questions can be particularly helpful for volunteers who may have little to no previous work experience. The questions should be designed to give interviewers an idea of who the interviewee is, in a quick amount of time. It allows us to see the potential that the teens have.

Examples of strengths-based questions to use when getting to know your potential volunteers:

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

What do you enjoy doing the least?

What would you say you are good at?

How would the people closest to you describe you?

What energizes you first thing in the morning?

What do you do to keep yourself motivated?

Do you prefer starting a task or completing a task?

What do you consider to be a significant achievement in your life?

What tasks come naturally for you?

When do you feel the most inspired?

How do handle challenges when they come your way?

Do you prefer working on a team or individually?

How would you describe success?

What is a good piece of advice someone has given you or that you would give someone else?

What do you think makes a day successful?