Career Programming for Today's Teens: Exploring Nontraditional and Vocational Alternatives

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Enrollment in vocational programs is on the rise and many high schools are introducing or restarting vocational preparedness components as part of their curricula.  You already know that programming events for young adults can draw a big crowd, which means that right now is the right time to make sure your library’s lineup includes offerings that will help youth transition into successful adults. An essential resource for frontline library staff and administrators, this guide presents step-by-step guidance on designing, planning, and implementing career programming for teens, including career readiness workshops and an annual trade school fair. Drawing from their own successful efforts, the authors address

  • the importance of career programming for teens in the library, illustrated using research-based evidence;
  • advice for building a collection of print materials and digital resources to assist teens as they explore career options;
  • ways that library staff can partner with local schools and other youth-serving organizations to help teens plan for their futures;
  • how library staff can design and facilitate engaging career programming that teens and preteens want to attend, including detailed instructions for replicating the authors’ Fast Track Trade School Fair; and
  • how to measure the outcomes of these programs and use teen feedback to plan additional programs.

This resource also includes interviews with library staff, school professionals, and teens who have attended this type of programming, providing additional examples for readers. 


Chapter 1    Trade School Trends
Chapter 2    Career Programming at the Library
Chapter 3    How to Get Teens Excited about Career Planning
Chapter 4    The “Meet a Professional” Workshop Series
Chapter 5    Internships at the Library
Chapter 6    The Fast Track: Trade School Fair
Chapter 7    “Teaching to a Career” in the Library
Chapter 8    Partnering with Schools and Other Organizations for Vocational Success
Chapter 9    Evaluation: The Importance of Creating and Using Measurable Outcomes
Chapter 10    Collection Development: Selection Tools and Criteria

  • Appendix A    Sample Fast Track: Trade School Fair Workshop Evaluation
  • Appendix B    Sample Fast Track: Trade School Fair Flyer
  • Appendix C    Sample Fast Track: Trade School Fair E-mails
  • Appendix D    Fast Track: Trade School Fair Planning Document
  • Appendix E    List of State-Based Worker’s Resources


Amy Wyckoff

Amy Wyckoff holds a Master of Library Science from Indiana University. She currently works as a youth services senior librarian for Beaverton City Library in Beaverton, Oregon. Previously she worked for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in Charlotte, North Carolina, as the Loft Manager at ImaginOn. In this role, she managed a team of teen-serving librarians and library assistants. She worked with coauthor Marie Harris to plan and implement the Fast Track: Trade School Fair for its first two years. She also planned and facilitated many workforce-development and career-planning workshops for teens in the Loft. Amy worked previously for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools as a school media specialist.

Marie Harris

Marie Harris holds a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In 2012, she began working at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library ‘s Loft at ImaginOn as a teen library services specialist. While in this role, she worked with coauthor Amy Wyckoff to plan and implement the Fast Track: Trade School Fair for two years. She is currently employed as a library branch manager at the Cornelius and Davidson branches of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, where she manages two teams of library staff.

”Timely and worthwhile, it extends the idea of what librarians can and should be doing to serve teens."
— School Library Journal  (starred review)

”Gives in-depth information regarding the topic at hand including, but not limited to, trade schools, career-focused programming, meeting professionals, library internships, options for partnership in the community, program assessment, and collection development ... Highly recommended."
— School Library Connection

”Helps readers think about the tough choices facing young people. Libraries can help them explore their options, including trade schools, and work toward successful futures."
— Information Today