Monday, January 22, 2018

Junior Volunteers

As I was stopping by one my local libraries (La Crosse Public Library), my eye was caught by a program they have developed for grades 3 and up called Junior Volunteers. 

The program is set up to be very DIY and gives kids tremendous agency.

There is a brief seasonal orientation (although new kids can sign up anytime and get their orientation one-on-one). Kids fill in a lanyard nametag; sign themselves in on a sign-up sheet (limit one hour per week), have a posted list of jobs they can do (check with the librarian to see what they need you to do) and as a cool bonus, get to recommend books - a bookmark in each book has the name of the volunteer that suggested it. 

All the materials are around one pillar near the entrance. I love the DIY-ness and agency this program gives older elementary kids - and many of the simple tasks that really do lend a hand to the library staff.  

Dawn Wacek, YS Manager cautions that this is something to empower the kids not necessarily to produce quality work. The real goal is relationship-building, ownership and connecting kids with the library and the staff. 

How have you set up elementary school age volunteer or family volunteer opportunities at your library?


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