Engage! at Sulzer

Librarians: Sharon Gissy, Sharon Anderson, and Amy Formanski

Participants discussed all five themes in three meetings. In an addition to these meetings, teens went on a tour of local art in their neighborhood and met with a local stained glass artist who spoke to them about his charity. The total attendance for all of the meetings was forty-three students.

Who the Teens Were

Most of the participants were summer reading program volunteers who learned of the Engage! program from the children’s librarians during training sessions at the beginning of summer. There were also teens who participated because they were intrigued by displays set up in the library and some school-year volunteers who were notified of the program directly by librarians.

Leadership Opportunities

  1. Teens chose all of the specific content for their part projects and were encouraged to voice their opinions on the art being discussed at each meeting.

  2. During service learning projects, teens demonstrated leadership by being responsible for choosing the areas where they wanted to help during two large neighborhood events over the summer. They assisted in the kids’ art tent and conducted surveys during the Folk and Roots Festival. Teens also helped to monitor an inflatable slide for kids at the Lincoln Square Block Party. In both cases, teens were actively involved in civic engagement and were personally thanked by the neighborhood institutions, the Old Town School of Music, and the Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce for their efforts.

Tangible Opportunities to Engage! with Ideas or Materials

  1. At the beginning of each Engage! session librarians led icebreakers in order to engage the teens with the artwork. One activity focused on the teens writing about their community and choosing symbols that could be used to represent themselves.

  2. At the final meeting, librarians taped an Engage! image to the teens’ backs and had each guess which image it was by asking only yes or no questions of the other teens.

  3. Teens participated in a several different hands-on art projects and utilized a variety of art materials. They colored and created Shrinky Dinks, made collages, and designed mosaics.

  4. Teens were also introduced to the idea of volunteering at community events, and did so at two large neighborhood festivals.

  5. At one session, teens were taken to meet with a local artist in his workshop. They had the opportunity to learn about his stained glass making as well as the charity the artist supports.

  6. Finally teens were taken on a guided tour of local art in their community and given the opportunity to experience public art first-hand and discuss it in the moment.