Volunteering for teens

Be a Summer Reading Challenge Volunteer!

Are you going into 7th-12th grade in the fall? Make a difference this summer and be a Summer Reading Challenge Volunteer. See below to learn more and download the information and application.

If you're here, it's because you're interested in giving back to your community. Maybe you want to be a volunteer because you're looking for a fun thing to do in your free time. Maybe you have to volunteer for school. Whatever the reason, we can help you figure out what to do.

Join the Teen Advisory Board

Teen Advisory Board (aka TAB) is for 7th–12th graders. TAB is where teens come to tell us librarians what the library should be doing for teens like you. We fill each one hour once-a-month meeting with silliness, high energy, snacks to get you talking, and just a little bit of work. Perfect for meeting other teens, TAB will get you hooked and you'll keep showing up.

TAB meets one Thursday a month from 4 - 5 pm in the Commons . No registration required.

Upcoming meetings:

Write a Book Review

Loved You Should See Me in a Crown? Does everyone and their BFF need to read Darius the Great is Not Okay? We want to hear from you! Write a book review for that great book you just finished reading (fiction or nonfiction, graphic novel or manga, print or audiobook--all okay!) and email it here. Quotes from reviews will be added to our book shelves to recommend books. Each book review will give you one hour of service credit. The book reviews need to be at least 5 sentences long. This option is also only available for teens in 7th-12th grade. If you have questions, please email Teen Librarian Ariana.

Happy Tails at Home

Earn service hours by making fleece dog toys that will be donated to local animal rescues. Kits will be available for pickup at the 3rd floor information desk. Each kit contains instructions and enough fleece to make two dog toys. Return the bag with your form and finished dog toys to receive one hour of service. This option is available for teens in 7th-12th grade. One kit per teen per month.

Happy Notes

Once a month, The Commons is the place to be to make uplifting handmade cards for hospitalized kids across the country and senior citizens here in Des Plaines. We supply the materials and suggested messages--you supply your creativity and energy. Everyone who receives the cards are really grateful so it's a special way to donate your time. Just for 7th-12th graders.

Happy Notes is a drop-in program so you can show up for 30 minutes or the full hour--up to you and your schedule. 

Happy Tails

Use fleece to make a dog toy that will be donated to animal shelters and rescues. This drop-in program is a great way to help animals and earn service credit hours. Just like Happy Notes, drop-in for the full time or even just 30 minutes--up to you. For 7th-12th graders.


The following programs will return in the future. 

Youth Services Volunteer

Volunteer applications will return in the future. Read on and think about if this might be something you would be interested in when it returns.

If you're in grades 6th-12th, consider being a Youth Services Volunteer! Volunteers assist in programs and help librarians with tasks.To volunteer, you need to fill out an application and return it to the 2nd floor Youth Services Desk. Sample jobs include:

  • Making craft samples
  • Pulling materials from the shelves
  • Cleaning early literacy toys and instruments
  • Dusting and organizing

Volunteers must promise to do a minimum of 8 hours of volunteering--basically, four 2-hour shifts.


Don't like these options?

Volunteering is personal. Sure, you might have to volunteer because your parent is telling you to, but you'll get more out of it and have more fun if it's something you care about. One of the great ways you can help in Des Plaines is to join the Des Plaines Youth Commission. You can help out with events for families and other fun opportunities. It's a great way to earn service credit hours for junior high and high school students. Fill out the Youth Commission Volunteer Registration Form on their website and follow the instructions on the form.

Want to see what else is out there? See our list of other volunteer opportunities in the Des Plaines area. These organizations need your help too.