My name is Aidan. I am a TCA (Teen Center Advisor) at the Central Library. I am a TCA for two reasons: service learning, and I love the program.
The TCAs are the library’s teen ambassadors. Whether developing the concepts for teen events, creating blogposts for this very blog, or recording the library’s teen podcasts, TCAs are teens who care about the library and are willing to invest their time in it.
That being said, prior knowledge of the library is not a prerequisite. However, those who join the program without prior knowledge are expected to make an effort to gain that knowledge so as to be an effective advocate for the library.
Pulled directly from the information sheet about the program, the following is the list of duties of a TCA:
- Meeting attendance [every other Wednesday] is required.
- Active meeting participation is also required. During meetings we will be creating videos, podcasts, and other media for the library. You will be expected to participate enthusiastically and contribute your own ideas. (1)
- Volunteer during at least one library event. This event will take place outside of meeting time, and may be on a weekend or evening. (2)
- Monthly assignments
- One thoughtful, carefully edited blog post submitted online by the end of the month.
- One teen book review due by the end of the month. You will place your review on the library’s catalog and email the link to email@example.com. You cannot write a review on a book you have already read.
- Other assignments as noted. You must check your email regularly to keep up with assignments.
(1) This isn’t as hard as it may sound. Everyone has ideas, and even if you think its a stupid one, its still an idea, and won’t sound as stupid to the rest of us as it does to you.
(2) Also not as hard or scary as it may sound. My first year, I was scared about volunteering. What I wound up doing was helping kids make animal masks out of paper plates for an hour and a half. Not only was it not scary, it was actually quite fun. And if little kids and paper plate masks aren’t your thing, library events range from author readings to video-game parties, with something to appeal to everyone.
For your time, you get service learning hours, at a generous conversion rate. For this blogpost, I’m getting comped two hours, even though it didn’t really take me that long to write. For your book review, you get three hours, and one for each meeting. If you do a second review or blogpost, you get half credit. This means that with only three book reviews in one month, you can get six hours of credit, one tenth of your Seattle Schools graduation requirement. And yes, you do get time for any of the extra homework that I mentioned above.
The TCA program is now accepting applications for the second session of this year. The session will run from Feb. 1 to May 23, with a meeting every other Wednesday. Over that time, you should generate at least 30 hours of service learning credit.
The application is due at the first meeting on Feb. 1. Interested? Contact The Teen Center: firstname.lastname@example.org / 206-615-1410