Teen Volunteers: Making a Library Volunteer Program Work for You

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Utilizing teen volunteers in the library can be a rewarding experience for both staff and teens. However it can also be a big challenge: working with teens’ schedules is chaotic, training can be …

Utilizing teen volunteers in the library can be a rewarding experience for both staff and teens. However it can also be a big challenge: working with teens’ schedules is chaotic, training can be time-consuming, and sometimes supervising the volunteers takes more effort than doing the tasks yourself. After much trial and error, the Delta Township District Library has found successful ways to make teen volunteering a great experience for all. This session will give you tips on how to efficiently manage a teen volunteer force, including recruitment, scheduling, training, supervising, assigning tasks, and volunteer appreciation. [This presentation was created by Becky LeBoeuf for the Michigan Library Association Annual Conference, October 2013.

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  • 1. Teen Volunteers Making a Library Volunteer Program Work for You Becky LeBoeuf Delta Township District Library (Lansing, MI) Michigan Library Association Annual Conference October 2013
  • 2. Teen Volunteers • Rewards & challenges • How to get started • Recruitment • Scheduling • Training • Assigning tasks • Supervising/managing • Volunteer appreciation
  • 3. Are you helping us or are we helping you? REWARDS & CHALLENGES
  • 4. We Teen Volunteers! • Free help! • Get to know the teens • Library advocates • Curb bad behavior • A service to the teens
  • 5. Grr . . . Teen Volunteers! • Free help? • Time consuming • Chaotic schedules • Keeping them busy • They are teenagers!
  • 6. What am I getting myself into? GETTING STARTED
  • 7. Getting Started • Learn from your mistakes • Learn from others (sample teen survey) • Support from administration, staff • Questions • Who? • What? • Where? • When? • Why?
  • 8. Cornering the teen market RECRUITMENT
  • 9. Recruiting Volunteers • Media channels: newspaper, library website, social media • Around the library • Talk it up to teens you know • Schools • Club advisors • Honor societies • School visits • Community organizations • Don’t forget homeschoolers
  • 10. How many volunteers do we need? • How often do you want them? • Staff availability • How much work is there to do? • How many are useful at programs? • How often do they want to work?
  • 11. Applications • Informational sheet • Contact info • Parent’s name, phone number & signature • Allergies, other emergency info • Deadline & follow-up procedures • Questionnaire • Why do they want to volunteer? • Availability & interest • Sample application
  • 12. 100 teens want to volunteer! Now what? SCHEDULING
  • 13. Scheduling Methods Based on programs, specific times convenient to staff/library • Can list dates/times on application and ask for availability, staff creates the schedule • Can post shifts and ask teens to sign up Based on teen availability • Teens may come in regularly on the same day/time • Staff can still create schedule or it can be up to teens
  • 14. Paper calendar
  • 15. Google Calendar East Greenbush Community Library
  • 16. Blog Gum Spring Library
  • 17. Volunteerspot.com
  • 18. Signupgenius.com
  • 19. Scheduling Considerations • How often? Weekly/monthly/quarterly/yearly • Getting in touch with teens • Shift reminders • Filling extra/open shifts • Switching shifts with other teens • Is staff available, needed to supervise? • How many teens can you handle at once? • Will you limit shifts, hours? • Length of shifts • Are all volunteers equal? • Keeping track of volunteer hours
  • 20. Volunteer Log
  • 21. How to get the teens to do what you want TRAINING
  • 22. Training • Orientation vs. individual training • Make it fun or make it quick • Hand out important info • Schedule • Volunteer handbook/guidelines (sample handbook) • Library info • Introduce staff • Take pictures • Job duties, library tour • Talk up library programs • Go over expectations & procedures
  • 23. Volunteering Guidelines • Show up when scheduled and on time • Let us know if you aren’t able to come • Be courteous and polite to staff and patrons • Ask questions • No cell phones, other distractions • Good general behavior • Respect patron privacy • Dress code • What are the consequences?
  • 24. Four volunteers are here, all looking for something to do. Help! ASSIGNING TASKS
  • 25. Volunteer Tasks Programs • • • • • • • • • • Running games & activities Taking pictures Reading stories Puppet shows Setting up and cleaning up Helping with crafts Playing/talking to kids Keeping count, tracking sign-in Tech experts Can run after-school programs (easy crafts, gaming)
  • 26. Free Help! • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Preparing activities and crafts Cleaning/tidying up around the library, dusting, cleaning computers Cleaning toys, board books, picture books Shelving books, shelf reading Displays, bulletin boards, decorations Assisting patrons Put on performances – puppet shows, skits, readers theatre Wear character costumes Tutors Contribute to a teen blog, facebook page, write reviews, YouTube videos etc. Gamers group/Gaming council Teens can come up with and plan their own programs for the library Scanning books to mark as used Removing new stickers Book Buddies, video game buddies (kids or seniors), tech buddies Key in monthly statistics or compile/add up statistics Inventory, check for damaged items Outdoor work
  • 27. Keeping Them Busy • Keep a list/file of volunteer jobs • Checklist of ongoing jobs & when they’re completed • Notes/instructions for regular jobs • Keep necessary materials handy • Teens can have a go-to job they always do if you’re busy • Sample list of jobs
  • 28. Staff Projects List
  • 29. Projects Chart
  • 30. Keeping everyone on track SUPERVISING/MANAGING
  • 31. Free help? When teens are less than helpful . . . • Strategic scheduling • Give clear instructions, examples • Check their work • Talk with them about problems • Find out strengths/weaknesses • Follow through with consequences • Talk to parents if necessary • Give second changes
  • 32. Library’s Most Wanted • The No Show • Chronic Canceller • Signed up by parents • Social Butterfly • Super quiet • Attitude • Lazy • Rude to staff or patrons
  • 33. After all, it was free help! VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION
  • 34. Volunteer Appreciation • • • • • • • • • • Party T-shirts Small prizes/gifts Food, candy Work off fines, no fees Free Friends membership Buy a item for collection in their honor Volunteer awards Certificates, recommendation letters Recognition
  • 35. Questions? Becky LeBoeuf Delta Township District Library bleboeuf@dtdl.org