The Seattle Public Library offers service learning volunteer opportunities for high school students to develop skills that will help them succeed socially, academically and professionally. Service learning aims to develop teen leaders who can identify and meet community needs. Volunteers learn about real world issues and provide community service in a collaborative environment.
Teens who participate in service learning at the Library can benefit in a variety of ways, including:
- 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 supports 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.
Teens create and implement service learning projects that are aligned with the Library's service priorities and meet community needs, with mentorship from Teen Services librarians. 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.
Locations and Time Commitment
Service learning projects are offered at the following Library locations. The volunteer time commitment will vary by location and teens' service learning projects.
- Ballard Branch
- Beacon Hill Branch
- Broadview Branch
- Central Library
- Columbia Branch
- Douglass-Truth Branch
- Green Lake Branch
- High Point Branch
- Magnolia Branch
- Northeast Branch
- Northgate Branch
- South Park Branch
- Southwest Branch
- West Seattle Branch
Volunteer Application & Orientation Process
Contact the Teen Services librarian at your local library to request an interview to discuss your service learning interests. Please complete a service learning volunteer application and give your application to the 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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Download and print a Service Learning Volunteer Application for High School Students.