Skip to Main Content

Teen Services Web

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

Off-site Opportunities for Teen Volunteers

Teen Volunteers

Teens, ages 14-18, can volunteer off-site with the San Antonio Public Library! (While Teen Services supports ages 13-18, the City of San Antonio requires volunteers to be at least 14 years of age.) If a teen is too young to volunteer, or isn't a good fit for the library, please share Dream SA's volunteer opportunities list with them.

Ideally, teen volunteer opportunities are an extension of the services we provide to teens. In addition to the weekly clubs, teens seek out their local library for experiences. Get to know the teens who you get the opportunity to speak to, ask questions to see what they are interested in, and keep the Teen Participation Matrix in mind. You can customize the volunteer opportunities available based on the interests and skills of the individual.

Off-site Teen Volunteer Opportunities

Email or phone:

Even if you as a staff member are not super familiar with these platforms, most teens are, so don't worry about saying everything perfectly. Take a look at our 210teenlibrary accounts on Discord or Instagram to familiarize yourself. Here is a link to a video made by Sheri Watkins. You may use this to explain to teens what volunteer opportunities are available at the San Antonio Public Library.

If you are emailing or speaking on the phone with a teen, please direct them to the Teen Volunteer Opportunities. 

In person:

If you are talking to a teen in-person, have handouts printed out to give them. It is also a good idea to talk to your staff at your location about what you want them to say to teens when you are not available, and to have our highlighted version of the application (the Teen Volunteer Application) printed out in a convenient location.

Script: Discord

Not sure what Discord is? This short video may help you understand. What is a Teen Mod? Teen Mods (or moderators, monitor the server, start good conversations, generally make sure the server is safe place for everyone, and no one is marginalized. They also start new challenges, post polls, and even run clubs, taking a lead in library programming.

Need more help? The following is a "script" you are welcome to use.

Staff: Hi! My name is [name]. I am one of the librarians on the 210teenlibrary server. Just wanted to follow up on some of your questions about volunteering! Yes, we are currently accepting more Teen Mods for the summer, and would love to help you get hours! Our nomination process is to observe how potential mods interact with others teens on the server for a bit before we "ascend" them to Teen Mod status.

Teen: What do I do on the server?

Staff: The goal of Teen Mods is to make the server a welcoming place, promote teens as advocates for each other in a supportive way, and building community. I would encourage you to take an active role starting good conversations and posting encouraging content on the server as an example of how you intend to act if you were to become a Teen Mod in the summer. This article gives an example of how Teen Mods might need to intervene if they saw a situation that needed de-escalation on the 210teenlibrary server. 

Teen: I will check out that link for sure. I already submitted an application when I used to volunteer at my branch in person.

Staff: What librarian/ library branch did you work with in person? I can follow up with them and see how long it has been since you last submitted paperwork, and if it needs updating. Thank you for wanting to volunteer with us! Please let me know if you have any questions!

Teen: I volunteered at the [name] branch. Do you need any more info to give them?

Staff: I will check with them!  I do need your name to locate your application.

Staff: Thank you! We still have your application. You won't need to resubmit at this time. When/if you volunteer in person again, we may need to have you update your paperwork at that time. Stay in touch, and let us know when you might be interested in starting as a Teen Mod. We can't let you start right now, since you just joined the server, but maybe after school is out you will have some more experience on the server. Does that work ok? Or do you need hours now?

Teen: I don't need a ton of hours right away, just 25 by the end of next school year, so I have a while. How exactly do the hours work virtually?

Staff: Oh, good! We mostly keep hours on the honor system. We will send you a  spread sheet, you, as a Teen Mod, will keep hours on and send to library staff at the end of every month.

Teen: What kinds of activities to do get credit for on the server?

Staff: Hours include time spent responding, chatting, making new channels, and posting on the server. If Teen Mods are a club assistant, they get credit for all the hours they spend planning, communicating about the club, meetings with staff, inviting other teens to the club, and of course, being in the club (usually at 4:30) and hosting. Some teens create other activities as well, like puzzles, challenges and one-day changes. 

Teen: Ah ok.