I really hate to gripe about this and so please don't take this as a complaint, but I have too many teens interested in volunteering! Or maybe it is better to say “I have all these teens and not enough work!” Before I start in with my story, let me just say that I LOVE my teen volunteers, they are amazing hard workers and don't know what I would do without them. I suppose this post is exactly what the title implies, a cry for help, maybe some advice from my experienced teen/youth services librarians. I’m also wondering, do other Youth Service Librarians struggle with this issue?
My current procedure is that once a volunteer comes onboard, is trained and is working out; they can stay as long as they want. When one drops, a new one can be added. So it is very difficult to estimate when a new applicant will be able to volunteer. My branch manager suggested that I limit their time to only one semester or season, such as fall semester, spring semester and summer. Then when it is over, they leave and I train a whole new group. I see 3 problems with this:
- Time commitment - Training takes a lot of time and patience and I would hate to send a volunteer away once they are independent and knowledgeable about the collection.
- Shooting myself in the foot - While I have a lot of applicants, I don't know if I would have enough to have new groups every semester. Let’s say only 20 applicants apply for spring semester and then who do I choose from my old semester to fill the remaining 10 spots?
- Teens have an agenda - They need to fulfill a certain amount of volunteer hours, which may not be able to be completed in one semester.
Too much of a good thing: that is my problem. Any advice?