While many bookstores encourage young people to write reviews for their newsletters, Sarah Zacks, owner of 12-year-old Books on the Square in Providence, R.I., has made reviewing just one part of a six-week bookselling internship for teens ages 14 and up. "Kids often think all they're going to do is run the cash register, but that's not fair," said Zacks, who began the program as a summer camp, three days a week for three or four hours a day. "They do the whole bit. They take special orders on the phone, sit in on ordering, shelve books and run the register. Customers like it." And so do the kids—who don't get paid, but do get book borrowing privileges at the store and an employee discount on all their purchases. Added advantages that parents appreciate are that Zacks writes college references for interns and hires 15- and 16-year-olds who have completed the program. In fact, Books on the Square's internships, which Zacks advertises in the store newsletter, have become so popular that this fall she's extending the program into the school year. These are only two days a week and reserved for good students. "The supposition," said Zacks, who asks parents to tell her if their children's grades start slipping, "is that school comes first."
Volume 251 Issue 48 11/29/2004