Summer is on its way (although the weather makes it feel like it’s already here!) and for me that means one thing: teen volunteers! Our annual Teen Intern Program is held in conjunction with our Summer Reading Program, and we get an average of 70 teens volunteering their time over the 6 week program (although the number of participants may go up this year, since our local high school now requires each student to complete 10 service hours per year). Having teen interns is pretty much the best thing ever. It’s beneficial for the library, as they are a tremendous help with the craziness of our SRP, and for the teens, who can put this experience on their resumes or college applications. And as someone who volunteers in my own community, I am hopeful that our Teen Intern Program shows the teens how awesome and rewarding volunteering can be.
But, oh, the scheduling of all of these teens! We’ve been using paper applications since the beginning of the Teen Intern Program (in 2006) and I have always dreaded opening that Excel sheet and trying to work out a reading desk schedule for everyone. It was time consuming and difficult. But this year we’ve moved on to this revolutionary concept of ONLINE APPLICATIONS. Whoa, what? I know! We used Google Docs to create a general application form (name, contact info, volunteer opportunities, etc.) and Doodle to make a reading desk schedule where the teens can choose which day & time they’d like to staff the reading desk (& once two teens choose a particular day & time, then that section is blocked out). The applications have been up for about two weeks now and it seems to be a pretty successful change. Sure, I’ve gotten questions from teens and parents who were a bit confused, and I’ve already had to contact some teens who’ve filled out the form incorrectly. But that’s okay! I expect confusion and mistakes, especially since this is our first year trying this. And hey, I’ll take answering a few questions over all of the scheduling misery I was in before. So high five, internet! Thanks for making this librarian’s life so much easier!