can teenagers work at a library

Can Teens Work at a Library?

The chance to work in a library as a teen is highly contingent on how hiring initiatives are implemented for a library. Many teens begin as volunteers, and help shelve books or assist clients with checking out books or applying for library cards. Most paid jobs in a library that are open to teens are either in the form of a library technician or assistant or a library page. The major points covered in this article then include:

  • Expanding Job Opportunities for Teens in the Field of Library Science
  • Volunteer Work in the Library
  • Paid Library Jobs for Teens
  • Where to Locate Library Jobs or Volunteer Opportunities
  • Applying for Library Employment
  • Obtaining Additional Training

Expanding Job Opportunities for Teens in the Field of Library Science

If a library is interested in expanding opportunities for teens, or in providing them with year-round employment, they normally focus on teen work in the form of service assistance, work-study programs, or in literacy assistance.

Teens may also be used to facilitate learning experiences in digital media, using the technology for such creative expressions as math, music, science, video production, writing, and visual art projects. Programs may also be initiated in libraries where teens are hired for the summer to work within the library system.

Volunteer Work in the Library

Through the aforementioned experiences, the library provides opportunities to obtain valuable work experience as well as marketable job skills in library science or office administration. With that being said, many jobs are available to teens who are willing to work in a volunteer capacity. These types of experiences enable teens to develop the skills needed to progress into paying jobs, whether in the library itself or in an administrative venue that requires skills in organization and communications.

To begin the process then, you might ask about volunteer work in your local public library. A staff member at the reference desk can supply you with more information about volunteer assignments, or direct you to a staff member who can. Public libraries frequently offer volunteer opportunities for teens that include shelving books, assisting patrons at the circulation desk, or helping the children’s librarian. Some volunteers also work a repairing damaged books.

Paid Library Jobs for Teens

Working as A Page

If you are an older teen (18 years old), you might consider working as a page. Library pages usually receive payment, but often work as part-time or temporary employees. The work is similar to what a volunteer does, and also includes shelving books. Working as a page may be your best opportunity to receiving a paid library job, especially if you are a teen and are currently not in college.

Other Jobs at The Library

You may also inquire about other jobs at your local library. Most librarians possess a degree in library science. However, all libraries do need to fill jobs, for example, in security. Again, working as a security guard is a position that is restricted to older teens (18 years old), or young adults (21 years and older).

Jobs at University Libraries

Teens who are college students can also find library assistant jobs in university libraries. These positions can often be scheduled around your class schedule and may, in some instances, be connected with your financial aid package, if applicable.

Working As A Library Assistant

A library assistant opening is a position where the person in the job role manages the daily work in the library. Requirements, however, as indicated, vary between libraries. Small libraries are more likely to be more lenient about their needs, and may even set aside training for high school students.

In most instances though, you need to possess a high-school diploma and sometimes show that you have completed library science coursework at the college level. Some libraries use the terms library assistant and library technician interchangeably. Other technicians are ranked higher in the library system, or have higher requirements educationally.

Where to Locate Library Jobs or Volunteer Opportunities

Library Bulletin Boards and Websites

Most libraries feature a bulletin board where notices of special events or open library positions are displayed. Check the board occasionally so you can apply to jobs or check the requirements of certain positions. Libraries often advertise openings on their websites as well.

Most libraries are established as non-profit institutions and are supervised by a library board. Compared to other employers then, they are given less leeway for discretionary hiring. As a result, you are less likely to be hired based on any personal connection. Usually, meeting the listed requirements are mandatory for hiring job candidates.

Applying for Library Employment

Do Your Research – Visit the Library First

When you note a job opening that fits with your skills or level of experience, you need to visit the library and evaluate the layout and services. Review the program schedules and the available technology as well as the other resources. All these insights will give you the information you need to discuss a job during an interview.

For instance, if you reviewed a library program, you might offer suggestions in order to improve it. The idea is to gather as much information as possible about the facility. Some of this information should include the following:

  • The type of classification used
  • The library’s database
  • The domains that are covered
  • Whether or not the library features digitized books

Use Specific Keywords in Your Resume

Most metro public libraries use a computer to scan incoming resumes. Therefore, the resumes must include specific keywords from the job description. Otherwise, an applicant will not be considered for an interview.

Write the Cover Letter, Highlighting Your Qualifications

In your cover letter, highlight all the essential qualities that make you, for example, a good library assistant. These attributes might include the following:

Uncover What You Can about the Local Politics

You also want to express your interest in the library itself and the domain that it covers. Find out what you can about the local politics, or what might impact the library as well. For example, is funding for the facility in jeopardy or have some of the services or hours been cut? That way, you can establish yourself as an advocate.

Obtaining Additional Training

While a job as library assistant can help you get your foot in the door, most library jobs do require college training. Librarian positions in public libraries require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. These kinds of positions are frequently reserved for children’s librarians.

If you wish to permanently work in a library or make it your life’s worth, you need to make it your goal to obtain a Master’s in Library Science. Almost all intermediate or advanced library jobs necessitate a Master’s in Library Science or MLIS degree. Librarians who possess this degree have more advanced responsibilities, such as updating library collections or managing library assistants.

So, what has been your experience in applying for employment in a local library? Have you ever volunteered in a library or do you plan to become a librarian? 

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