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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.


Use the Teen Volunteer Orientation Checklist for Supervisors (below) as a guide for your volunteer's first day to make sure your new teen volunteer feels welcome and comfortable at your branch and with your staff.

If your staff are new to hosting teen volunteers, you may need to help your staff learn to adjust to having a teen as a part of the team.

Edit the Teen Volunteer Welcome to reflect your branch's staff and contact info. Go over with your volunteer on their first day to make sure they understand the expectations. Give the document to the new teen volunteer so they will have your contact info if they need to call in and can refresh themselves on the expectations.
You might want to consider having all your staff sign the Library Agreement and not just the supervisor. This may help your branch be accountable for viewing the teen as a partner and help them start taking ownership of a coworker relationship.

(Created by Stephanie Vazquez, edited by Cassie Garza and others). Make sure to change branch name before giving to your volunteers!


Teens sometimes need a little more training and guidance than adult volunteers. The good news is, that if you invest extra time at the beginning, it really does pay off. Teens will rise to your expectations. If you tell them you expect them to act mature, and treat them like an equal partner in completing the library's mission, they will rise to that expectation.

A good process to help you as you are training new volunteers is the following steps, based the Aspen method:

1. I do; you watch.

2. I do; you help.

3. You do; I help.

4. You do; I watch.

Many times, the frustration with volunteers doing their tasks incorrectly is that they didn't actually understand in the first place. We explain something, and ask if they have any questions. When asked if they have any questions, teens will almost always say, "no," either too shy or unable to formulate their thoughts into a coherent question. We then move on, assuming they know what they are doing.

How do you keep this from happening? Taking time to observe new volunteers at work will help keep errors down.