Homewood Library’s Teen Leadership Council


With summer rolling around, the Homewood Public Library will once again start its usual summer festivities. Open mic nights, the summer reading program, and more – including the monthly book suggestions put on display for visitors to grab. 

The events are organized and held by the library’s Teen Leadership Council – or TLC – a group of teens from the Homewood-Flossmoor area that meet frequently to share ideas and brainstorm ways to improve experiences for young people at the Homewood Library. 

The group was originally started at the Homewood library in 2015. Mary Wegrzyn, the Teen Services Librarian at the Homewood library, started the group by asking a group of teens who attended the library frequently if they wanted to start the council as a way of making programs for the library that would appeal to other teens in the community. The council now has ten members.

¨TLC has become an important part of the library,” Wegrzyn said. ¨The library relies on Teen Leadership Council as volunteers for programs involving younger age groups, especially during the Summer Reading program.¨ 

TLC holds meetings once a month at the library and they discuss their ideas on how the library can be involved in the teenage community. They also attend events held by other organizational groups and fundraisers throughout the year. 

“TLC is a great opportunity to not only see friends outside of school but to do productive work and things that are good for the public,” = TLC member Caroline Elfner said

“I grew up around the library, so being in TLC helped me be a part of the clubs I was around before I joined,” Kelly Parker, TLC president said. “Plus you get free books.”

Parker is also the founder of Adolescent Activists, another group endowed by the library. Adolescent Activists is a group of teens who host open discussion groups every month to discuss global issues and get their opinions heard. Adolescent Activists holds public meetings on the third Friday of every month. 

Aside from their responsibilities, the members of TLC are a very tight-knit group and they spend a lot of time together. “Personally, I don’t enjoy reading but I still love being a part of the council,” Elfner said. “I get to grow connections with people I would otherwise not see because I don’t have classes with them.” 

TLC also helps to manage The Fort, a space in the upstairs of the library for teens in grades 7-12 to read or hang out with friends. They give recommendations for books, activities, or games that they think would contribute to Fort’s expansion. 

The council is always open to new applicants from the high school age. “I have had teens come into the library and say, ‘this is boring,’ so I tell them to join the Teen Leadership Council and help us develop programs that aren’t boring!” Wegrzyn said. “You can list TLC on your college applications and resumes to show your leadership skills and willingness to volunteer.”

If you’re interested in making a difference in your neighborhood library, you can visit the Homewood Library’s website and fill out an application.