Volunteering for teens

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.

Youth Services Volunteer

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 (available at the library) 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.

Volunteer applications are available at the library. Stop by and ask at the 2nd floor Information Desk.

Join the Teen Advisory Board

Teen Advisory Board (aka TAB) is for 6th–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.

Upcoming meetings:

  • Thursday November 21st from 4 - 5 pm
  • Thursday December 12th from 4 - 5 pm
  • Thursday January 16th from 4 - 5 pm
  • Thursday February 13th from 4 - 5 pm
  • Thursday March 5th from 4 - 5 pm

Happy Notes

Twice 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 2 hours--up to you and your schedule. 

Upcoming sessions:

  • Saturday December 14th from 10 am - 12 pm
  • Saturday January 11th from 10 am - 12 pm
  • Thursday January 30th from 4 pm - 6 pm
  • Saturday February 8th from 10 am -12 pm
  • Thursday February 27th from 4 pm - 6 pm
  • Thursday March 12th from 4 pm - 6 pm

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.

Upcoming sessions:

  • Thursday December 5th from 4 - 6 pm
  • Thursday January 23rd from 4 - 6 pm
  • Thursday February 20th from 4 - 6 pm
  • Thursday March 19th from 4 - 6 pm

Project Linus

Make no-sew fleece blankets for Project Linus. We'll provide materials and instruction, and you'll be making great blankets that will be given to Project Linus (an organization that provides blankets to children and teens in need). For 7th-12th graders. You MUST register in advance for this program. You can register by calling 847-376-2840 or online

Upcoming sessions:

  • Saturday January 25th from 10 am - 12 pm
  • Saturday February 22nd from 10 am - 12 pm
  • Saturday March 21st from 10 am - 12 pm

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.

Need court-mandated service hours?

I'm sorry, but the library can't help you earn court mandated service hours. Please see our list of other volunteer opportunities to find organizations you can fulfill your time with.