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February 6, 2016

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Support Your Library : Volunteer Opportunities for High School Students

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Service Learning Volunteer Opportunities for High School Students

Teens working on a project tgether

The Seattle Public Library is pleased to announce a new Service Learning Volunteer Program for high school students who are at least 14 years old.


Service learning enables teen volunteers to serve the community through collaborative projects and mentorship. Teens who participate in service learning at the Library can benefit in a variety of ways. Teens may:


  • Develop 21st century skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, decision making, collaboration and communication.
  • Gain enhanced awareness of community issues and their causes.
  • Learn about Seattle's diverse ethnic cultures and traditions.
  • Learn about various career fields and how the Library can support formal and informal education.
  • Gain valuable experience and skills that will help in preparation for college and future jobs.
  • Learn from librarians and community professionals who can offer mentorship.
  • Begin developing a network of professionals who can help with finding internships and/or jobs.


Teen Services librarians mentor small groups of volunteers at the Library. These teens create and implement service learning projects that meet community needs. Project components include:


  • Development, planning, implementation and reflection phases of service learning projects guided by teens.
  • A connection to a community need. Teens will learn how to determine if their project ideas will meet needs in the community.
  • Alignment with one of the Library's service priorities: Community Engagement, Re-imagined Library Spaces, Seattle Culture and History, Technology and Access and Youth and Family Learning.


What is Service Learning?


The Seattle Public Schools' description of service learning includes:


  • A teaching and learning strategy, adhering to the K-12 Service Learning Standards for Quality Practices, that connects students to real world issues and meets community needs.
  • Service learning projects must meet academic standards, civic, character or leadership learning goals through hands-on, relevant and relational service, in collaboration with the community.
  • Projects will prepare students for college, careers and life!


Expectations of Service Learning Volunteers


High school students must be at least 14 years old to be eligible for service learning volunteer opportunities. We expect volunteers to:


  • Work cooperatively as a team with other teen volunteers, community partners and Library staff.
  • Be respectful of diverse lifestyles, cultures, religions and values.
  • Have an interest in enhancing library services and learning about community issues, social justice issues and causes of personal interest.
  • Be dependable and fulfill commitments to the Library, the community and other service learners.


Volunteer Application & Orientation Process


Service learning projects begin in June, September and January. Teens can volunteer for 3-4 months or for the entire school year. Contact the Teen Services librarian at your local library to request more information. The librarian will invite you for an interview to get to know you better and discuss your service learning interests.


Please complete a service learning volunteer application and give your application to the Teen Services librarian. After your interview, the librarian will invite you to a volunteer orientation with other teen service learners.


Because it may not be possible to complete 60 hours of volunteer service at the Library, students are advised to provide volunteer services for at least two organizations during high school. These websites provide information about volunteer opportunities for teens:



Please contact our Volunteer Services Coordinator at if you have any questions.


Download a Service Learning Volunteer Application for High School Students