By Erin Crowley
The public library is a great space for teens, with dedicated programming and plenty of space for meeting with friends, studying, working on group projects or taking a break with a new book or magazine. There are countless online and print resources for that next research paper or novel study, and library staff are always available to help.
But did you know that teens can also volunteer at the library and earn hours that help them meet graduation requirements?
Working with our teen advisory group, (TAG) the library develops meaningful and enjoyable volunteer experiences for high school students throughout the year.
Through these experiences, students have the opportunity to contribute ideas that change the look and feel of the library and its programs, and to connect with younger students, seniors, and families living in their community.
Teen volunteers mentor students in grades one through three in both English and French library Reading Buddies programs. For those teens who like to read and want to help younger students develop their reading skills, this volunteer experience is a must. Students attend an orientation and training session before becoming a reading buddy, and then meet with their partners one afternoon each week for several weeks in a row.
There are three series a year (fall, winter and spring), and these popular programs are always in need of new teen volunteers.
After school on the first Tuesday of each month during the school year, TAG volunteers visit the local seniors centre to present It Won’t Byte, a program that helps seniors learn about technology.
Volunteers work one-on-one to troubleshoot and answer questions about each person’s own phone, tablet, laptop or other technological gadget.Year-round, TAG is active in helping to plan, organize, and run craft programs and other in-library events for all ages. Several times a year, they join forces with our Maple Ridge Friends group in regular fundraising activities like the Friends of the Library yearly book sale, shred-a-thon and quiz night. Funds raised at these events contribute to literacy initiatives, library collections and the purchase of special equipment or furniture. TAG meetings are held during the school year on every third Wednesday of the month, starting Sept. 18.
To join TAG, stop by the Maple Ridge Public Library to pick up an application form. For information about other Fraser Valley Regional Library services and programs, drop in, call us at 604-467-7417 or check out our website at www.fvrl.bc.ca.