Looking for a unique summer volunteer experience? Oak Park Public Library is once again offering a volunteer program for teens that will build your skills, engage your talents, and allow you to give back to the community. Teens entering 7th through 12th grades can apply to join teams like Art Attack and Booktalkers. Seven collaborative teams will be working on a variety of projects, from mural making, graphic designing, and book reviewing, to yarn bombing and recreating historical photographs of the community. Drop-in volunteer opportunities are also available. Apply by May 18 to take advantage of these opportunities. Applications are now available at http://opplteen.org  or at any Oak Park Public Library location.
“It’s wonderful having the teens here during the summer. It keeps us connected to their interests, helps us serve them better, and gives them a better understanding of library services,” states Rebecca Teasdale, Assistant Director for Public Services and Programs. “And obviously their work speaks for itself.”
Kids going into 5th and 6th grades can also volunteer at Oak Park Public Library this summer. Help with special programs for younger children, write book reviews, decorate the library, and promote the summer reading program. Junior Volunteers will meet for six weeks, from June 11 through July 19, at the Main Library, 834 Lake Street. Choose either Mondays, 3:30pm-5:30 pm or Thursdays, 10am-12pm. Junior Volunteer applications are now available at the Main Library Children's Services Desk or at http://oppl.org .
Teen Summer Volunteer Opportunities
1. Art Attack
meets daily, June 18-June 22, 10am-3pm, Main Library, 834 Lake Street
This team will use their artistic skills to plan and create public art. Use moss, grass, and other earth friendly materials to make a group of small public art “murals.” This is a great team for teens who love creative adventures.
meets Tuesdays, June 12-July 24, 1pm-3pm, Main Library, 834 Lake Street
This team will work directly with the Young Teen Collection, write reviews, and help market it to other teens. This is an excellent team for teens who love reading and writing.
3. Fiber Freaks
meets Tuesdays, June 12-July 24, 2pm-4pm, Maze Branch Library, 845 Gunderson Avenue
Take your knitting and crocheting craftiness to the next level! Join staffers as we Yarn Bomb the Maze Library landscaping—no experience necessary. This group is ideal for teens who love working with their hands and fiber in the great outdoors.
meets Mondays and Wednesdays, July 9-July 25, 3pm-5:30pm, Main Library, 834 Lake Street
This team will research opportunities for teens in Oak Park in the library and beyond, and brainstorm new programs and services for teens. This is a team for teens who are involved in the community or are interested in sharing ideas and planning programs.
5. Design Lab
meets Thursdays, June 14-July 26, 11am-1pm, Main Library, 834 Lake Street
This team will help create graphic design elements for the library. This is an excellent team for creative teens with an interest in de-sign and a desire to create visual products.
meets Thursdays, June 14-July 26, 2pm-4pm, Main Library, 834 Lake Street
This team will work with the Philander Barclay photo collection to recreate historic photos in modern settings and digitally share their work with the community. This team is a great choice for teens interested in digital photography or history.
meets Fridays, June 22-July 27, 3:30pm-5:30pm, Main Library, 834 Lake Street
Team members will help with the Children's Summer Reading Program, including running carnival games, making crafts, and helping with the programs. This is an excellent team for teens who love working with younger children and have tons of energy!
8. Drop In Volunteering
Saturdays, 10:00-11:30am and Wednesdays, 3:30pm-5pm
June 11-July 27, Main Library, 834 Lake Street
Drop in if you are interested in extra volunteer experience or if you prefer to work independently rather than with a group. Tasks may include organizing books on the shelves and putting books on display.
Teen Summer Volunteer Schedule
Applications Due: May 18 (early applicants given preference)
Interviews: May 23-May 31
Mandatory Orientation: June 6, 7pm-8:30pm or June 11, 3pm-4:30pm, Main Library
Appreciation Party: August 1, 7pm-8:30pm, Main Library
Oak Park Public Library’s teen summer volunteer program began in 2008. In 2011, a record number of teens participated. One team created the Pass It On project as a way to foster a love of reading in the wider community, especially in people who might not regularly come in to the library. One team painted a mural for the teen space at the Main Library. Another team created a video tour of the Main Library’s green roof. Yet another team taped interviews about why people love the Oak Park Public Library. Teens also helped keep our shelves organized and helped with the summer reading program.
Oak Park Public Library’s Executive Director Deirdre Brennan adds, “Our teen volunteers are a great help to us during the summer. We are very pleased to see them applying their talents and showing commitment to the library. Our teen summer volunteer program is one of our very successful innovations.”
Find more information, events, and resources for teens at http://opplteen.org .