Thursday, May 3, 2007

MassBlast: Building Library Awareness and Staff for Tomorrow

Internships for high school students

▪A 40 hour program that pays stipends to the interns.

▪Many teens believe that librarians just put books on the shelves.

▪This program helps teens to understand exactly what librarians do.

▪They learn library skills and enjoy hands-on work

Recruitment – Actually, it was quite easy, Just ask! Sadly, some had to be turned away.

Staff of the library must believe in the program in order for it to work.

What do the teens do?

▪Shelve books (however not very often)

▪Order and catalog books

▪Interlibrary Loan (students enjoy the search)

▪Learn research skills (to prepare for college)

▪Participate in field trips and guest speakers

▪Resume building and Career exploration

While the program started as Simmons, it has grown to include 7 libraries across the state

Funding – Initially, by a small grant. Larger grants have been sought and awarded. This increase has allowed for the documentation of the program and sharing so that other libraries can develop new programs.

Detailed schedules are on the website. The program runs 2 days a week for 2 hours each time. The program begins with an icebreaker party. The plan is mostly to introduce the teens to the librarians. At the beginning of the program the students will work with a collection development librarian ordering a book, the book is received into the library, cataloged by the student and eventually receives a dedication label with the student’s name and is place on the shelves.

MassBLAST Website

This session was meant to encourage other libraries to start programs similar to this one. Online there is curriculum for both academic and public libraries.

This program offers the teens a once in a lifetime opportunity. One of the main benefits is their increased comfort level in a library. It also introduces the idea of librarianship as a possible career.

Springfield Public Library

▪Altered curriculum to include more on customer service

▪ILL was different from academic (public doesn’t use OCLC)

▪Teens contributed to a program on adult literacy

▪They spent time on children's and YA services

▪Visited branch libraries and the teens were able to run a story hour

Springfield Public found that it was very important that staff understand the desired goals for the program. Beware that this program takes time to plan and implement. It can also be expensive. Overall, the program has been very productive and encouraging.

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