Teen Ambassador Project
The Teen Ambassador Project was based on a model of peer-to-peer training. The Orlando Public Library Youth Services staff introduces a group of teens to our databases and then they in turn earn community service hours for giving presentations to groups of their peers. Over the summer, we approached Evans and Jones High Schools as potential test sites for the program because they both have introduced the International Baccalaureate curriculum. At each school, we met with school representatives like the media specialist, IB coordinator, or assistant principal to discuss our project.
To promote the program and to identify potential students that would like to participate, we conducted an information session at Evans High School for all of their IB students. Following the session, teens indicated if they would like to attend the formal training session. We also surveyed the teens on their library usage, library card status, and research needs.
We designed brief modular presentations for the teens, which include a script, power point presentation, and two exercises to use when presenting each database. We initially selected four databases, General OneFile, Literature Resource Center, LearningExpress Library, and Tutor.com. We posted these resources on a wiki for the teen ambassadors to access.
The training session did not go as expected. The teens were so excited and interested in using the first database that we introduced; we did not cover all of the other databases. Suggestions would be to provide multiple on-site training sessions or to focus on promoting a single database each year.
The Teen Ambassador Beta project is an example of a creative program, which efficiently uses community resources. It encourages teen volunteerism, school-library collaboration, and peers using their influence to create greater awareness of resources that promote academic achievement.