About Us

It’s Way More than Community Service

The Teens Leading Change program is dedicated to amplifying youth voices and civic action in our community!

What difference do you want to make?

What topics do you care about?

Together, we can build a better tomorrow.

Get Involved.
Make a Difference.

When you join TLC, you have the opportunity to identify real challenges, and create real solutions – check out our video!

Something For Everyone

Ten Reasons to Join TLC

For Teens

For Parents

For Communities

Be a change maker

Projects form in September, and you may join until March 1, 2023.

The application process has closed.

Edmund T.
Get out the Vote
Eagle Rock Branch Library

You've got questions, we've got answers

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Teens Leading Change?

    Teens Leading Change (TLC) offers teens in the LA area various opportunities to provide tender loving care to their communities and to make positive change in their neighborhood through the library. In the process, teen participants and the teen services librarian who helps facilitate the project develop valuable leadership and project management skills and hopefully, change the world.

    TLC’s core component is civic action projects. Projects typically take place from October to April and are led by teens with support from librarians who specialize in working with teens. Teens who cannot volunteer for a civic action project may join TLC activities and events throughout the year.

    The Teens Leading Change initiative is coordinated system-wide by the Teens Leading Change Committee, which currently consists of Candice Mack (Teen Services Manager), Cathie Chenoweth (School Liaison Librarian III), Matisse Mozer (Teen Services Librarian III), Kadie Seitz (Youth Services Librarian II), Shirley Thao (Library Foundation of LA), Kelly Tyler (Associate Director, Youth Services). Many thanks to past TLC Committee members Dora Ho (retired), Madeline Bryant (former LAPL), and Imani Harris (LFLA).

    For more information, email teenservices [at] lapl.org

  • What is the history of TLC?

    The Teens Leading Change program was established in the fall of 2017 by the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) and the Library Foundation of Los Angeles (LFLA).

  • What are the long term goals of TLC?

    • Expand teen civic participation in Los Angeles
    • Empower teens to know, first-hand, their role in a thriving democracy
    • Increase teen’s knowledge of how government works
    • Nurture teen’s 21st Century skills like critical thinking, creativity and collaboration
    • Develop a model for teen civic engagement for other library systems to adapt

  • What are the requirements to participate in TLC?

    Teens must be between 14-19 years of age and attending 9th-12th grade, and must register as a library teen volunteer. Additionally, teens must make an appointment with the library to verify their full COVID-19 vaccination status to participate.

  • Is COVID-19 vaccination required to participate in TLC?

    Yes, all teen participants must be vaccinated to register as teen volunteers. To complete the volunteer registration process, interested candidates must make an in-person or virtual appointment to show their proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, in accordance with the City of LA’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement ordinance.

  • Where are the TLC programs located?

    TLC program locations vary every year. Please contact the teen services librarian at your local branch library if you are interested in leading or joining a TLC project.

  • How are projects identified?

    Teens identify TLC civic action project topics by identifying and discussing community topics they wish to explore during Teen Council meetings at libraries between August and October. Then, the group proposes a plan to address the topic through civic action (i.e., doing something about it!), and a librarian supporting the group will apply for funding to implement their idea. TLC has funding to support as many as 10 projects per year and up to $5,000 for each project. The next TLC civic action project application deadline is October 3, 2022.

  • How are projects created and developed?

    You will develop and implement your civic action project with a group of peers and a teen services librarian; not by yourself. Fill out an interest form here, and we’ll connect you to the nearest LAPL location planning a TLC project.  The following steps guide the creation of our Civic Action Projects:

    1. RESEARCH & EXPLORE (August – November): 

    • Identify a community highlight, issue or concern
    • Research the topic, propose a plan to address it, and prepare a proposal for funding
    • Once your group receives funding, discuss and explore your topic further to address key questions related to the issue and narrow the scope of the project

    2. DEVELOP & IMPLEMENT (December – March): Develop an action plan, budget costs, implement the group’s civic action project, and document activities along the way

    3. REFLECT, SHARE  & ASSESS (April – May): Present your group’s work at a TLC Showcase in April and reflect and evaluate your experience

  • How does TLC partner with communities and neighborhoods to effect change?

    Teens and librarians collaborate with local communities in many ways, including interviewing stakeholders for project research, hosting events to learn more about community stakeholders’ work addressing the community issue, and forming partnerships with institutions such as schools to expose the project to new audiences.

  • What support does the library provide?

    The Library provides civic action project funding, librarians to advise and guide teens’ projects, volunteer credits, and Leadership Awards to recognize teens who demonstrate at least one of TLC’s core leadership values: adaptable, effective, empowering, ethical, inclusive, and visionary.

  • How are projects funded?

    TLC awards mini-grants up to $5,000 for ten TLC Civic Action Projects each school year.

  • What are the benefits of joining TLC?

    Teens have the opportunity to volunteer for a great cause and receive valuable community service hours. Volunteering is great for development, and shows character and initiative; qualities that universities and scholarships are looking for. Students gain knowledge about local government, engage intentionally with their communities and deepen their understanding of civic responsibility while making new connections and having fun.

Don't Be a Stranger

Still have Questions?

We’d love to hear from you!
Send us a message, and we’ll do our best to answer your questions.


A Very grateful thank you to

Our Sponsors

Our TLC Library Staff, Teen Participants & Library Foundation Staff