If you’ve ever browsed JCPL’s event calendar, you may have noticed many teen events, workshops, and discussion groups are hosted at the Library. But do you know who plans the events? Our Teen Services Librarians and Teen Advisory Boards (TABs)! Each TAB group is made up of volunteers aged 12-18 who want to make their Library a fun and engaging space where teens can gather as a group, make connections with their community, and learn something new. This month, we are celebrating the graduating seniors of our Standley Lake TAB group- Ashley, Elizah, Greta, and Raiden!
For these four teens, being part of TAB is so much more than just getting volunteer hours to put on their resumes. Planning and running programs has helped each of them grow and develop leadership and career skills that will come in handy after graduation.
“Being a part of TAB helped me get the job I have now,” noted Elizah. “I work a lot with groups of people, and part of that is also gathering groups of people together. I have to be in charge of the group and responsible for them, and TAB helped me assert myself.”
The events put on by and for teens can be both silly and serious. Some memorable programs from the past few years include lighthearted favorites like the Zombie Apocalypse, where the group put on their best zombie costumes and makeup, and the Murder Mystery programs, which require months of planning to concoct the perfect murder. Meagan Parry, Standley Lake’s Teen Librarian, jokes, “It’s actually a prerequisite to join Standley Lake’s TAB: Must be open to discussing murder and sudden plot twists.”
“You really get to know people when you discuss how to murder someone,” Elizah laughs.
Raiden concurs, “We’ve definitely had some unique murders.”
On the more serious side of teen programs is the Race Relations Book Discussion, where two of Standley Lake’s TAB seniors (Elizah and Ashley) served as Discussion Leaders for upper elementary and middle school students. This program provided a safe space for kids and pre-teens to reflect on and discuss societal constructs of race with their peers. Ashley reflected, “I feel like TAB is its own community and brings people together that wouldn’t necessarily do it on their own. You meet different people outside your school and family lives and make connections with others.”
“I’ve also noticed that we will sometimes get some of the same teens at our programs, and some of them are really starting to open up at each program,” Elizah adds. “…They’re also becoming themselves more. Ya know? Like talking more and feeling more comfortable, and just being who they are.”
Even the TAB members themselves have broken out of their shell through their time in the group. “I’m definitely more outgoing and extroverted now because I’ve been in TAB. Just be yourself and don’t be afraid to join in,” Greta suggests to teens considering joining TAB. What else should new volunteers know about TAB? “There’s cookies!” Ashley exclaims, “And chips!”
These four friends all have different plans once they graduate from high school this spring. Raiden has already graduated and will be joining a nuclear engineering program in the Navy in just a few short weeks. Elizah’s job is going well, and she will continue working after graduation. Ashley is taking a gap year and is eager to see what the future will bring. Next fall, Greta will be attending CU Boulder to study piano performance after winning third place in an international piano competition. You can watch her incredible performance here. Congratulations to these four hardworking and accomplished teens! Thank you for everything you have contributed over the years to make the Standley Lake Library a safe, fun, and creative place for the future!