From Teen Volunteer to New Employee – Helping Teens Bridge the Gap


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Description of teen volunteer program at Dusenberry-River Branch Library and Wheeler Taft Abbett Sr. Branch library in Pima County, Arizona.

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  • Introduction
  • PCPL already had a very basic teen volunteer program. Teen volunteer help was primarily sought during the summer to help with the summer reading program. It was up to each individual branch to provide training and decide how much help and what teens would help with. The dusenberry river branch library has many teens interested in volunteering so year round, I was getting requests to volunteer. I would have teens starting and stopping at different times and training was spotty depending on my schedule and the teens schedule. The “help” we were getting was sometimes a lot more work than it was worth. I also started realizing how difficult it is for teens to get a job in the increasingly tight job market. They need more skills just to get an entry level job. I realized I needed a structured program that would allow me to ensure my volunteers had solid in order to help them get the experience and skill set they would be able to use in the future, and I would be getting quality volunteer work.
  • That is it basically
  • This program has three distinctive features, the structure of the program, the specific training the volunteers receive and the experience the teens get.
  • Explain the structure
    Why it is good? – having volunteer sessions allows us to provide volunteer opportunities to more teens and it keeps volunteers on the same track for training and volunteering. It also allows for a more realistic job experience in a condensed amount of time.
  • Volunteers are now receiving very specific, structured training. The training is focused on giving teens the skills they will need to be successful as new employees and future job seekers.
  • Tell story of Aaron in library task training
  • Applications were already in place but we added the interview process. This has two benefits. The teens get experience with the interview process before it is high stakes and it also gives us a before and after example to talk about during the job interview skills training. It also helps us ensure that the volunteers who participate in the program are motivated and have follow through.
    I always ask the teen to call in and schedule the interview. If the parent is there with the teen and seems to be the one pushing the teen, I explain that calling for the interview is part of the job experience practice
  • There are two training sessions. One at the beginning of the volunteer session focused on what the teens will be doing. And one at the end focused on how to take the skills they have just learned and apply them to getting a job in the future.
  • The first part of the initial training always includes basic job skills training. I make it clear to the teens that the volunteer session is structured the same way a job is structured which will give them experience and practice with job skills. I expect them to call if they will be late or unable to attend their shift, I explain basic work expectations and some of the rules we have at the library (like wearing close toed shoes)
  • I spend a lot of time talking about the importance of customer service and how to provide good customer service. Most of the teen volunteers assume they will be helping to put books away. I explain the concept of behind the scenes customer service and why it is so important to shelve books quickly and accurately. I want them to make a connection between everything they do and the experience that our library customers have. This is one of the “bridge moments” we have with the teen volunteers. I explain that customer service at the library is very similar to customer service anywhere else and the skills they will be using as a volunteer will be the skills they will need if they get a job at starbucks or stocking shelves at the grocery store.
  • This portion of the training is the nuts and bolts of the teen volunteer experience. This part of the training would depend on what tasks your library decides a teen volunteer will be helping with. The training during the summer includes how to staff the summer reading table and how to work with young children and their parents, during the school year, I focus more on shelving and shelf reading.
  • This training session is provided at the end of the volunteer session. I explain some general resume and job skills concepts and then we focus specifically on the skills they have just learned and how they may want to write that up on a resume and how they would talk about their experience in a job interview.
  • Bobby started off as a non-library user. He asked about volunteering at the library because he was having a hard time finding a job and his parents said if he volunteered somewhere, they would help pay his car insurance. He applied for the program and started volunteering. After a few weeks of volunteering he asked how to use the library catalog and how he could check out books. After a few more weeks of volunteering he asked about getting a job at the library. He took the initiative to apply to the county teen job program through which we hire our teen employees, when a job opened up, I was able to hire Bobby.
  • Katie started out as what I think of as the typical bookish teen. She wanted something to do during the summer and loves books and reading so decided to ask about volunteering at the library. She was very shy and quite when she started volunteering. I am pretty sure she thought the library would be a quite place where she could look at books. Of course, summer at the library is far from quite and Katie spent a lot of time helping kids sign up for the summer reading program and answering questions. It was difficult for her at first but the structured training helped her feel confident with the interactions with library customers. Katie asked to continue volunteering during the school year and she has been helping with our read to a dog program. Katie now confidently greets kids at the door, explains what the program is all about, helps kids with crafts while they are waiting for their turn and even fills in as a reading partner if the dogs can’t make it. She has become confident and comfortable working with the public
  • From Teen Volunteer to New Employee – Helping Teens Bridge the Gap

    1. 1. From Volunteer to Employee Helping Teens Bridge the Gap Kendra Davey Jennifer Caldwell
    2. 2. Background  Teens need experience  Teens need training  We need help
    3. 3. Program Objective To provide teens aged 14-18 an opportunity to develop basic job skills as well as job interview and resume writing experience through volunteering at the public library.
    4. 4. Program Description Structure TrainingExperience
    5. 5. Structure  2 month long sessions  4 during school year  1 during summer  4 volunteers per school session  20-25 volunteers per summer session
    6. 6. Training  Basic job skills  Customer service  Task training  Job interview skills  Resume writing
    7. 7. Experience  Customer service skills  Basic job skills practice  Library task training
    8. 8. “Hiring” Volunteers  Application  Includes session dates & program description  Interview  Based on page interview  Job description
    9. 9. Training Sessions  Basic job skills  Volunteer task training  Summer Reading Program  Job interview skills  Resume writing
    10. 10. Basic Job Skills  On time  Reliable  No cell phone or texting during work  Appropriate dress Library Mission, Vision & Values  Volunteers are the face of the library
    11. 11. Customer Service  Customer Service Skills  Face to face  Behind the scenes  Got a SEC?  Customer service for children  Customer service for parents
    12. 12. Library Task Training  Library orientation  Backroom process  Sorting  Shelving  Shelf Reading  Weeding  Programming  Storytime
    13. 13. Job Interview Skills & Resume Writing  Do your research  Know yourself  Build a bridge  Be specific  Appearance
    14. 14. Taking it on the Road  Scheduling  Safety and privacy training  Floating/roaming  Page mentoring
    15. 15. Outcomes  43 teen volunteers from 2009-present at Dusenberry River Library  1 volunteer hired  Quality of volunteer work has greatly increased  Teens have increased confidence and skills  Building core of teen users at Wheeler Taft Abbett, Sr. Library
    16. 16. Bobby From volunteer to employee!
    17. 17. Katie From bookworm to ambassador!
    18. 18. From Challenge to Success  Abigail  Was not a promising volunteer, but really her parent needed more managing than she did  Todd  Taught life skills along with job skills  Needed extra structure and attention to achieve success
    19. 19. Lessons Learned  Giving feedback  Volunteer evaluation form  Incorporating feedback  More hands on – less lecture!  Managing a growing program  Schedule volunteers appropriately  Keep staff informed  No real need to advertise  Have brochures or flyers to hand out
    20. 20. Program Expansion  Taking it system-wide  Training for librarians  System-wide training for teen volunteers  Teen Leadership Pilot Program  Leadership training  Project-based  Must complete one volunteer session
    21. 21. From Volunteer to Employee Helping Teens Bridge the Gap Kendra Davey 594-5345 Jennifer Caldwell 594-5200