Jobs for Teens at TPL - Library Page
The most common job for teenagers at the library is the job of a page. A page is responsible for shelving books, minor repairs and some other duties.
A page job involves:
- Sorting and shelving library materials
- Packing and unpacking
- Straightening and tidying library shelves and tables
- Other related duties as assigned
- Hours vary, but are usually 10-12 hrs/week, including evenings and Saturdays, up to 20 hours per week
- Must be at least 14 years of age
- Wage: $11.33 per hour
The ideal candidate will be:
- Able to perform work of a physical nature
- Able to communicate well in English
- Able to work well with people of all ages and backgrounds
Once you submit your application:
- It will be kept on file for 6 months
- If your application is selected, you will be contacted by telephone for an initial, brief interview. (If this poses a problem, please inform your local branch when you drop off the application)
- If you are selected for an interview, it will include a practical test
- You will be asked to provide the names of two references
The best way to get a job as a page is to go to your local library and ask for an application for employment, complete it and hand it back to that library.
The applications are kept on file for a short period. If the library is interested in hiring you, you will be asked to come in for an interview.
Frequently Asked Questions / FAQ
Hiring Season - or - When to Apply
- Exactly which libraries are hiring?!
Hiring happens at many different branches through out the year. It's tricky to say which branches are hiring at any given time, since it's always changing. We recommend applying for a bunch of libraries that are easy for you to get to. Maybe it's a branch near where you live or close to your school. Keep in mind, if a branch isn't hiring this week, may be they will be in a month or so - and if you've already submitted an application with in the past 6 months, you may just get a call. Branches keep page applications on hand for 6 months. I hope that answer helps.
Hours per Week, Flexible Scheduling
- How many hours a week do pages work? What's the maximum and minimum per week?
The max number or hours/week for a page is 20. The average is probably about 10-15. The minimum is 3 hours per week. Generally, shifts are in 3 hour increments.
- Are hours flexible? For example, can I request more hours during the school year, holidays and summer break, but request less during exam weeks?
Yes, generally supervisors understand that many pages are also students. Of course, exact scheduling is worked out between the supervisor and employee, but supervisors generally understand that exam week is hectic for students and that students may want to fill in more hours during other times of the year. Yes, there's generally flexibility and an interest to accommodate various schedules.
- If I want to work at the library only for the summer, is it possible to quit before school starts? Or will I have to keep working? Also, what is the deadline to hand in an application for a summer position?
The library doesn't hire pages just for the summer. Page positions are year-round. It's expected upon your hire that you'll be available during the school year - not just the summer. Generally, the scheduling is flexible and accommodates students. For future job recommendations and work experience, it can be really helpful to have a job over the school year. It's also a great opportunity to get out of the house and get paid. Unlike some places, the library doesn't have a set hiring season - it's all on a rolling basis and depends on each branch's staffing needs. Applications are kept on file for 6 months, so apply as soon as you'd like!
Filling Out, Submitting Application Form
- What does this whole "6 months" thing mean?
- If I hand-in my application form in the summer do I have to wait for 6 months or (if I was chosen) they can interview me earlier?
Once you submit your application it is 'good' for 6 months. Thus, you could be called for an interview at anytime within the 6 months after you submit your application. If you haven't heard anything after 6 months, re-submit your application(s). It's always possible that they weren't hiring in the first 6 months you applied, but liked your application. Hope that clears up the confusion.
- What does it mean when the file is kept for 6 months? Does that mean the application will only be reviewed after 6 months or does that mean that the application will be in the files for the next 6 months and if a job becomes available they'll look at it? If there are no jobs after 6 months the application will be removed from the files?
No worries, applying to jobs and understanding the jargon is tricky. "Kept on file for 6 months" means that a submitted application will be in the files for the next 6 months and if a job becomes available they'll look at it. This also means that if there are no jobs for 6 months (very rare!) the application will be removed from the files.
Pages are needed in every branch, year round, so it's likely your application will be reviewed at some point. Just apply to multiple branches and promote your skills and past (volunteer or paid) experience in your resume.
- Is it possible to designate a start date more than six months after than when the application is handed in?
Yes that is possible, but you'd have to submit an application again after six months. I'd advise waiting until your start date is within 6 months of turning in the application.
More Questions about Submitting the Application Form
- I was reading the application instructions and one of the steps says "Do not send duplicates." If I submitted a single application (along with my resume) but to a couple of different branches in my area, would that be considered sending "duplicates?"
Sending applications to multiple branches is not sending duplicates. That's what you should do! The 'no duplicates' statement means they're asking applicants not to send more than one application to any one branch within 6 months of sending the first application. Or in other words, don't send in a copy of your application every hour / every day / every week. One application per branch every 6 months will keep you up to date!
- Why is asking for, filling, and returning the application while in the library the best way to get the job?
You can fill out the application in the branch, but it's probably a lot easier just to print out the application (see links above) and then turn it in when you visit your library. It may take time to fill out the form with all the info, so feel free to take it home, fill it out and bring it back later.
- What’s the name of the person taking applications at my branch?
Applications can be received by any staff member at the information/circulation desk, they'll hand off your application to the correct person. Because Toronto Public Library has so many branches and because staff members do change, it would be tricky to provide an exact name. Hope this info helps.
- Can you send your application through email to human resources for page jobs?
Sorry. The application does need to be dropped off in-person at the branch. That's your chance to introduce yourself and make a great impression, aside from all the great stuff on your application!
Questions about the Application Form
My First Job & Previous Experience
- Should applicants have any job experience prior to applying for this job? Or is it okay if this would be our first job?
Yes, it's absolutely OK if it's your first job! On your resume, be sure to include any volunteer work that you've done or organizations that you've been part of (like Scouts/Guides, other clubs, etc.) Include experiences like helping out a neighbour with chores or gardening, playing music at retirement homes, or any babysitting experience counts. Anything that was positive and demonstrates responsibility and/or cooperation can generally be thought of as experience.
- Is it ok not to hand in part of the page application because it was not filled or not needed?
If you have a blank section, still turn it in. Maybe write N/A or Not Applicable. If you leave out the section, the people looking it over may think it got lost or you forgot to fill it out. Putting "Not Applicable" or something like that shows that you reviewed the section.
Work Availability, Hours Per Week
- My availability "start date" changed--- I'm available earlier than I had written on the application. What can I do?
If your availability is significant - such as several months - then you may want to contact the branch where you submitted your application to let them know. If the change is only a few days or a week or two, it may not affect the process too much. Often, start dates are worked out between the employer and the prospective employee after a successful interview. Hope that helps answer your question. Good luck!
- My parents dont really like the idea of me working during school. what is the acceptable (not technically bare) minimum that is plausible? and do you always work everyday? can i work just weekends?
The bare minimum is 3 hours a week. The maximum is 20. Since most shifts are 2 or 3 hours long, it would be approximately 1 shift a week. Those that schedule library pages a generally flexible - they know that you're in school and understand.
The maximum hours per week for library pages is 20 hours per week. If you're less available during some times of the year - or want to pick up more hours during other times, you can work out those details with your supervisor.
As far as working during the school year, I found that it helped me prioritize and get homework done. It helped with my terrible procrastination! I generally worked 6-9 hours per week during the school year and it was manageable. I also met other teens at the job and made friends.
V. Other Relevant Practical Skills Not Mentioned Previously
- What does this section mean?
That section is your place to describe skills that you have that maybe weren't covered in the sections "Employment History" or "Volunteer Experience". What's an example? Things like 'attention to detail' or other character traits that are attractive to employers - like punctuality, flexibility, and reliability.
Resume and Social Insurance Number
- Do you have to attach a resume if this is your first job and why do they have to have the social insurance number?
This is a great chance to write your first resume! Include any volunteer positions or anything you've done that demonstrates responsibility and being organized. SIN numbers are required for employers tax purposes and other reasons (and so that you can get a tax refund!) - this goes for nearly any job in Canada.
- Hello! It says that you will be asked for two references? I've never had a job before and I'm not sure what that is or how you would come about them. Is it possible to apply for the job and not have references?
References can be adults or people (not family or relatives) that can speak to your skills and qualities as a responsible, capable person. If you've ever helped someone out (cleaning, gardening) or volunteered somewhere, ask the person who provided to direction or the person that knew you best in that position.
Waiting to Hear Back
- Will we know if they have read our application/resume? And after about how long will they contact you (if you are selected)?
Thanks for asking. Due to many reasons, the turn-around time can vary. It also varies if the branch is seeking new pages or already has sufficient staffing. All applications are kept on file for 6 months - so if you haven't heard anything after 6 months, talk with a branch representative - you may want to resubmit your application. You may also want to submit your application to other branches in your area. Keep in mind, your application will only be considered for the branch that you apply for - so it may help to drop off resumes at many different branches in your area. Job hunting can be challenging, but keep trying.
In contemporary job applications, it is very tricky to know if and/or when an application/resume is being reviewed. I'm confident many of mine have made it to the shredder before anyone's eyes - you just don't know. And sometimes applicants can hear from employers long after submitting a resume. Unfortunately the 'wait and see' process is how job applications work everywhere. Most times an applicant will never hear anything; that is job hunting in the modern world.
- What guarantee is there that my application will be selected if I apply?
Job applications generally do not have a guarantee. It's also possible that you may apply and not hear anything - that's very common in applying for jobs anywhere.
Make your application the best that it can be - highlight your experience and personal qualities and skills that make you extra terrific!
- During an interview what is usually being asked? And what makes it successful?
Interviewing sounds daunting, but if you stay positive and be yourself, your odds of landing the job may improve. Something else to keep in mind is that interviewers are looking for examples from your past experiences - be prepared to have mini-stories that illustrate different qualities (i.e. leadership, flexibility, how you've resolved problems, etc.). While I don't know exactly what questions they'll ask, generally interviews ask you to tell quick stories about how you handled a tricky situation, demonstrated team-work, have good work ethic and are responsible. It's good to think of these examples before the interview, then you can just tell the quick story (be brief!) of how you handled various situations.
And of course, TPL has tons of materials to help you get prepared! While many books may speak to professionals, lots of the advice is totally relevant to everyone landing their first job, too: How-to Interview Books Remember, every one interviewing you has also gone through the nerve-wracking experience of their first interview and their first job. Just be prepared, stay positive, and be yourself.
- What would the practical test consist of?
The practical test consists of a sorting test - either with cards or actual books. Sorting how? By looking at the Dewey Decimal call numbers and placing them in sequential order. To get a sense of how it works, check out your branch's stacks - or ask a librarian!
- I'm already a volunteer at the library. Will I still be eligible to apply for a job at the same branch?
Yes, you're still eligible! Go for it.
- I'm not turning 14 until a few weeks from now. Can I still apply right now ?
Yes, as long as you are 14 at the time of interview and hiring date. Since you're turning 14 in a few weeks, it should be OK. Go for it.