Emily Hall– Mustangs Ahead
(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- The Braden River Library is a valuable resource with many different volunteer opportunities and events for teens that are frequently overlooked.
The Teen Advisory Board (TAB) is one of the best ways to volunteer at the library. This board meets monthly to provide advice and feedback on teen programming, book collections, and marketing. TAB members also assist in library program and services such as making decorations for children’s programs.
“TAB members can receive official volunteer hours, and TAB membership is also a great thing to add to resumes and college applications,” said Molly Saunder, the librarian in charge of the young adult section of the library and teen events.
Not only is TAB a good way to help the community, but it is also there to help teens.
“My goal as the teen librarian is to create a space where the teens of Manatee County can feel safe, welcome, and seen. We could not reach that goal without TAB’s input and participation,” said Saunder.
Additional volunteer activities outside of TAB include volunteering weekly at the library. This requires an application to volunteer and involves tasks like emptying the book drop, shelving books, and other miscellaneous activities.
Over the summer, teens can participate in a program called Tech Buddies, where teens will assist senior citizens with technology.
Besides volunteer activities, the Braden River Library also has many teen programs.
Starting in January, there will be a weekly teen program on Thursdays from 6-7:00 p.m.. Meetings will include game nights, Adulting 101 classes (with topics such as cooking, applying for jobs, and mental health), crafting programs, and a stop motion animation workshop.
“By establishing TAB, the library can stay connected and teens can be a part of how the library works,” said Teen Volunteer Coordinator Olivia Tooker. “If you love books, feel underrepresented in your community, or want to participate in something beyond school, these are all great reasons to join and participate in what we do.”