Monday, May 1, 2017

Teach and Be Taught - Teens in the Library

Emily Sanders and teens in one of their "Sherlockian Extravaganza" programs
Emily Sanders, Teen Librarian at the Barrett Memorial Library in Williams Bay, presented a lively, vivacious and information-packed session this past week at the WAPL conference in Stevens Point on creating and encouraging a Teen Advisory Board.

Their TAB launched in January 2016. But before it did, Emily spent the fall enthusiastically talking to any and all middle and high schoolers getting them pumped up about the upcoming TAB. By laying that advocacy groundwork and building excitement, the launch itself was a success. She asked the teens to make a one-year commitment for the monthly meetings, attend at least three programs and assist with the library's booksale. Teens who participate get service hours, letters of recommendation and a positive volunteer experience to put on applications.

The teens run their own meetings with Emily there in an "advisory" capacity. She helps them with the agenda and then they are off.  There is always pizza and snacks at these hour-longish meetings.  The teens are given alot of agency to create a group that created programs for themselves - and younger kids including a Harry Potter Party.  They also made buttons for sale as a fundraiser  - this led to "button lock-ins" where the TAB kids could participate in fun activities and crank out more buttons to sell after hours.

Sprinkled throughout the presentation were videos of the TAB teens talking about the work they did and what mattered to them.

Among Emily's tips for success with teens?
  • Get the teens excited by getting out from behind the desk.
  • Listen to what teens want and think.
  • Pay attention to what they say.
  • Ask them to share ideas.
  • Let teens pick their roles in program.
Please stop by the WAPL conference site in the next few weeks to see Emily's slidedeck of her 4:30pm Thursday presentation. And if you get a chance to see Emily present, do. She had us all rocking during the last session of the day!

Check out other WAPL youth program reports from the April 27-28 conference (links will be highlighted when published):
Stop here at the WAPL conference website for all the session handouts and slidedecks.

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