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Library thanks its teen volunteers

New and old teen volunteers include Ashlyn Miller, 15, Michael Wernig, 12, Ryan DuBois, 14, and two potential volunteers. (Lauren Tiner) (click for larger version)
July 06, 2011
Gilford Library honored its teen volunteers last week with an annual Teen Volunteer Breakfast, and brought in a few fresh faces to help around the facility this coming year.

While the teen room and endless activities for local youths are new concepts to the library, teen volunteers have buzzed around the new and old libraries in Gilford for decades, according to staff members.

Gilford librarian Lura Shute helped run the breakfast last Thursday, recognizing current teens for their volunteerism in the past year, and encouraging their peers to join in on the fun with a homemade meal and tour of the facility.

"It gets the teens more involved and familiar with the library. While we've always had volunteers, we are catering more towards teens with certain programs," said Shute. "Today, we are having some breakfast, meeting each other, discussing schedules and touring the library. It's a chance to introduce teens to the library and what it means to be a volunteer here."

Teens often work in the children's room downstairs in the current library facility, although volunteers who are more familiar with the new building will assist librarians with other tasks as well upstairs.

"I personally like working with all the kids and making them smile at the library," said library volunteer Ashlyn Miller, 15. "I've been coming to the library for years, and when I heard about this, I was reeled in. I think it's a good use of your time."

While Miller learned that she loves working with children, she added that she has made friends with her fellow teen volunteers over the years.

Teen volunteer Michael Wernig, 12, said he was also excited to be a part of the travel themed summer reading program this year, and help facilitate the board game where participants can win prizes.

Wernig is currently one of the youngest volunteers at the library, and said he was initially inspired to volunteer because his mother is a school librarian in Farmington, and also volunteers upstairs at the Gilford Library while he works in the children's room.

Due to a higher number of teen volunteers than ever before, volunteers often take turns and work at the library for a two hour block about once or twice a week.

Teen volunteer, Ryan DuBois, 14, said he officially got started after coming across a sign, looking for volunteers one summer.

"I decided to give it a try, and here I am. I wanted to be productive and do something during my summer instead of sitting around. It's nice and self-driven. You are treated as an adult here," said DuBois. "You also gain the ability to sort or find any book in the library. It's a good experience."

Two potential members also graced the breakfast last week, looking to join the current group during the summer reading program.

Shute said volunteers never run out of things to do at the Gilford Library. The library even had to cut their volunteer list short due to new age requirements this year.

"This year, volunteers must be 12 to work here, or must have a parent present at the time. It's unfortunate, since a few kids have not been able to volunteer as much, although we have two of the younger volunteers doing a story time soon," said Shute.

When teen volunteers sign-up and enter the library, they can expect to perform an array of tasks, including book shelving around the children's library, keeping DVDs, CD Rom's and more in alphabetical order, helping youngsters with crafts and puzzles, and making sure to smile and greet all that walk through the door.

Librarians especially encourage teen volunteers to talk with the children and ask them about a book they are reading at the library or pick one or two of their favorites for the child to read. On a quiet day, teens can also curl up with a good book of their own.

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