Molly Blaisdell Roars for Library Teen Programs!
Library Lions Roar Molly B
Welcome to Library Lions Roar interviews. Molly Blaisdell is stopping by to share her library love.
And give some lucky LLR follower a signed copy of our picture book The Twelve Days of Christmas Starring the Chickens!
Find more Molly B Books And since she’s stopping by to talk about the TEENSPublish program, I thought I’d mention her terrific teen novels under the name of Cece Barlow
Molly has a great library tale to tell. Take it away, Molly.
Thanks, Janet. I’m here to ROAR for libraries. I’m an author of books for children of all ages, but my chance to “be the change I want to see in the world” is by volunteering at my local public library. I’m the founder of the TEENSPublish program, an innovative writing program for ages 13-19. I hope that this article inspires you to support your local libraries in new and creative ways.
Libraries are in a time of transformation, and with that budgets for libraries are in flux. Many want to do away with libraries as unnecessary dinosaurs of an earlier age. We have the Internet, right?
We live in an age of misinformation. It’s tougher now to find vetted material. School librarians are needed to help our students navigate the deep information ocean. School libraries are needed as repositories of what is best and brightest in the deluge. Even more, school libraries help lift students out of poverty. Not everyone can afford the luxuries of technology and libraries offer access, and educated citizenry is about access. Here’s a thought. Let’s ditch the test budget and spend that money on the best libraries in the world. Boom! I just solved the education crisis in America.
In this brave new world, we must expand our school libraries. If we allow them to go by the wayside, we will pay a high price. In a Twittering, Facebooking, Snapchatting world, more interested in shock value than the truth, we need school libraries to not lose ourselves in the noise.
This brief statement cannot fully encompass what we are facing without our libraries but will hopefully serve as a jumping off place for discussion.
A Lion’s Pride of Programs
Libraries are innovative places that draw together diverse communities, and Larry J. Ringer Library in College Station, Texas, a part of the Bryan and College Station Library system, is just such a place. This library was formed in 1987 in a storefront until it came to its current home in 1998. It’s a vibrant place of books, media, and community for the “reading tribe.”
The Larry J. Ringer Library is also home of TEENS Publish. I reached out to the local Reference Librarian Kendra Perkins three years ago with my idea for a self-publishing program for teens. I wanted the program to introduce participants to a professional publishing experience. The program includes eight weeks of guided craft programming, critique groups, and professional editing. Each student is allowed twelve pages in the anthology.
This is the third year of the program, and we have had a variety of different works: novel excerpts, an illustrated poem, a graphic novel, short stories, and a non-fiction article. We meet weekly with class mentors for the students, including myself, Dawn Husted, young adult fiction author, and Kendra Perkins.
Volunteer Dawn Husted had this to say about TEENSPublish: “One can never learn enough. These students truly surprised me with their dedication and fascinating stories.”
Each day we focus on some element of craft like plot, setting, and character. We do some writing exercises and then we critique. It’s a busy schedule. When the manuscripts drafts are ready, we move on to our editors. We also had an impressive line-up authors who remotely supported our program as student editors: Lois Brandt, Vijaya Bodach, Alice V. Brock, Janet Lee Carey, Erin K. Casey, Sue Ford, David Lee, Ellen McGinty, Sam Pittman II, Angela Turner, Linda Joy Singleton, Kathy Whitehead, and Conrad Wesselhoeft. After the editorial phase, Kendra and I format the book for the CreateSpace platform and publish the book. Finally, it’s time to celebrate at our Authors Party! Friends and family gather to celebrate the release of the book.
To get a sense of how these teen writers feel about the program, here are some quotes from the TEENSPublish students:
“I absolutely loved the environment! Everyone was helping each other and giving tips because we genuinely wanted to help each other. It was fantastic!!!!” Emily Gibson
‘There is no limit to what a truckload of skittles can make me do. That, and the teacher screaming CONSTANT VIGILANCE! It was awesome.” Willow Yocky
“You could say that it is the WRITE way to spend your summer! I loved learning how to improve my writing!” Sayuni Dharmasena
“This program helped me take the tools I learned in English and apply them to storytelling. Thank you, Mrs. Blaisdell, for providing a wonderful program that teaches the authors of tomorrow!” Kristopher Cowles, II
“I learned about how to be a good author and meet plenty of good friends. I would recommend it to any young writers.” Kelsey Andrus
TEENSPublish for me is about filling a need by offering teens an opportunity to do something that has “real world” value. Our book is something you can hold in your hands and share with others. I believe young writers need special nurture, and it is a gift in my life to be able to offer that nurture. I hope the spark of this program begins many more across the country. (It’s already lead to a creative writing club at a local high school.)
Library Love When You Were a Cub
The Harris County Library system had a great program during in my high school years where books were mailed to your home and then returned to the library through the mail. I loved checking the mailbox for books, and I don’t think there was ever a teen who loved the mail so much.
MollyKid I am the girl with the banana hat.
Seize the Day
Molly Blaisdell Page
Twitter: @mollyblaisdell and @barlowcece
Thanks Molly for the terrific ROAR!
And now you lucky LLR readers, here’s your chance to win a copy of
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I love the TEENSPublish program! What a terrific way to inspire the next generation of writers. Bravo to you, Molly and your local library for offering this incredible opportunity to young writers. I would have jumped at the chance to do something like this when I was a teen!
I agree, Trudi
Looks like a great program!