From intern to ‘Rising Star’

Mt. Laurel’s teen and tween librarian Samantha Marker is one of three librarians in the state recently recognized with the Rising Star Award.

Marker spearheads a plethora of programs at the library, from coordinating volunteers to initiating a teen yoga class beginning in September.

“I was nominated by the director of our library for the award,” she said. “The award is new. It was the first year they gave it out.”

The award highlights the accomplishments of three librarians with five years or less of experience.

The Pennsylvania resident began working at the library as an intern as she was finishing her graduate degree in 2006, ultimately becoming a full-time staffer in 2007.

“We are so pleased that Samantha’s hard work with the teens of Mt. Laurel was recognized in this way,” said library director Kathy Schalk-Greene in a statement.

A yoga class series, centering on teenage participants, will commence in September and span for one Saturday each month through December, said Marker.

In July, Marker brought in Mt. Laurel resident Chris Wilczewski, a recent contestant on “American Ninja Warrior” to teach parkour techniques to area children.

“He’s always a great sport,” she said. “That went really well.”

Through the summers, she manages a team of roughly 65 young volunteers who handle summer book club registration as well as prize distributions.

“It can be challenging,” she said. “This year, it was nice. We actually have a teen intern that helps manage that to some degree.”

Marker helps with the big training session to review software guidelines at the beginning of the summer and gives the teens the reigns.

“They know that I am available to them while they are on their shifts,” she said. “It is a pretty independent volunteer program once they’ve gone through the program.”

Area teens look forward to the Mega Mega Teen Tunes concert series, which was initiated by Marker.

According to a statement, the performers are teen bands, the publicity is done by teens and the concerts, which are widely attended, are hosted by them as well.

“It’s basically a teen run concert at the library,” said Marker. “A lot of times, they’re kids from Lenape High School.”

The Teen Advisory Board has a say in that process, she explained, and the concerts are now in their fifth year.

“It’s always a good time,” she said.

Learn more about teen programs

Visit www.mtlaurel.lib.nj.us and click on “Teen Zone” on the left side of the website. Check out programs coming to the library, find a good book catered to a certain grade level and learn about the Teen Advisory Board.

The Mt. Laurel Library is located at 100 Walt Whitman Ave., Mt. Laurel. Call the library at (856) 234-7319 for additional information.