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  • Writer's pictureDesi

Creative Writing Club: A Library Program

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

Hi guys!

I’ve mentioned that I work at a library in the youth services department right? (if you’ve dived into the about section on the blog, it’s in the first paragraph).

Well, yes I work at a library and I really enjoy it. It’s very laidback and it allows me to be creative and still maintain my sanity. The job I was at prior to this was not good for my mental health for my own personal reasons.

Any who, I’ve been at the library for almost two years. A brief summary of what I do here is every month we get to create programs for kids ages 4 through 18 and create passive programs and story times for our young patrons to participate in. We take turns setting up program boards, decorating and setting up book displays as well. It’s great, I enjoy it very much.

This month I was in charge of the Teen Board and the YA book display, and since April is National Poetry Month I took advantage of this and set up a “Proud Library Fridge”. You know how when we would get a good grade or create art our parents would place it on the fridge, (I do this with my kids as well) I made one for the library with the theme of Black Out Poetry, inviting our tween/teen patrons to participate. My YA Display is set up to showcase books that are told in prose form or in verse such as The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo or Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson. I think they are great displays if I do say so myself.

Rewind a little to, I think back in December, when I attended a webinar in regards to improving tween spaces in the library or creating them for that matter. It was during this webinar I had the brilliant idea of creating a writing program. I was inspired by all of the information I was receiving, how tweens want to be heard and they aren’t little kids anymore but also aren’t quite teenagers, and I thought back to when I was a tween and was starting to figure myself out and thought back on how I had first fell in love with writing and I thought, “Hey I can’t be the only person to have felt that way at that age.” So I emailed the head of the department and set up a one on one to talk about the possibility of creating this program. I set up my pitch with dates and times, (one Tuesday a month for an hour) with the age groups (fifth through eighth grade) and topics to learn about (poetry, short stories, brainstorming, etc.) and she loved the idea. I explained that if the numbers were good that I could even ask my old professors from Columbia to join as guest speakers. I was super excited to finally be able to put my Bachelors in Arts degree to work. We had arranged for it to start in February of this year and so far it’s been great.

The first month I was able to have two patrons and by the end of that meeting they were ready to sign up for the next month. The second meeting, again had two patrons, one being a newbie. This recent meeting I had, I had five patrons show up, three regulars and two newbies! I was ecstatic! And since this month I was in charge of the teen board I had the group create work for the “Proud Library Fridge”. Which they did so happily. They loved the idea of having their work posted for people to see.

I’ve been on a natural high since then and I’m hoping I’ll keep that high if the numbers stay consistent or rise over the summer. Which is why I started writing this post. I wanted to share with the world the progress that I’ve been making with this program.

A little background on me, in high school I had an English teacher, Mr. Joseph, whom I have the upmost respect for. I may have been introduced to writing in grade school, Miss Poirier, I see you, but Mr. Joseph helped me find my authentic voice and perfect it and love it and own it. Even though back then I would write in slang (Ur instead of your, dem, deze and dat instead of them, these and that, 2 instead of two/to) he HATED it! He knew that my perspective would change as I got older and he believed in my work and told me to keep growing with it. It makes me laugh at myself now for having the audacity to write with that slang at all. Ha-ha! Ew. What was I thinking?

Maybe I’ll write a post about my early influences as a writer/student. I owe them all so much for my mental and creative growth.

Going back to my main topic, I have so many ideas for my Creative Writing Club, I want to help these young kids find their voice and let them feel heard, as Mr. Joseph was for me. I have a girl who has been a consistent patron and is the silly and very talkative one in the group but when she settles down to write, her words and descriptions are amazing. I have another girl who is very quiet and a little older than the others who I feel has so much to say and just needs to feel like she is in a safe place to say it. I hope that her being one of the oldest doesn’t steer away from the program. I would love to see her writing as well as her personality blossom. Another girl in the group joined simply because her mother signed her up for it but she still actively participates with no hesitation and I love that about her. Another young girl has attended every meeting since it started and shows a lot of interest in all that we do and even asks for book recommendations every now and then. The scholar mindset. The last young girl I’d like to mention is a newbie to me, she seems shy but seems like she has a lot of stories to bring to life. I hope to watch her blossom as a writer as well.

I have been put into a teaching position before, usually a tutor of some kind or a teacher for very young children. I was always nervous about if I was getting through to them or if I was doing the right things to help them grow and develop and though I wouldn’t consider myself a teacher now, I’m starting to see that I have that teachers eye. Looking at the girls in my group I can figure them out by just watching how they interact with each other and how they write and with that I am able to find ways to keep them interested and keep them involved and get them to create writing pieces that they are proud of. It’s beautiful.

If I can be half as great as Mr. Joseph was for me, to them, then I know I will have accomplished something even if it is short lived.

What do you guys think?! Any suggestions on how to keep the kids inspired to keep coming and telling their friends to come as well?

Let me know your ideas! I want to hear from y'all!

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