Get It Write @ your library
Angela Hanshaw | September 30, 2010
It’s always the write time to offer writing classes at your library. You’re sure to find people in your community who would like an introduction to writing or the chance to build upon their writing skills. Here are just a few program examples for all ages, from fiction to nonfiction to poetry.
Author Marita Golden will lead two eight-week free writing workshops for ages eighteen and older and Adults at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw branch of the DC Public Library. The first session focuses on fiction, and the second session focuses on nonfiction and memoir writing. In addition to learning the techniques of fiction and nonfiction writing through in and out of class assignments, the writers in the workshops will read the work of published authors as well as meet local authors who will visit the class to speak about their writing and their careers as writers. At the end of each eight-week session, the participants will present a public reading of work completed during the workshop at a closing ceremony held at the library and open to the public. An excerpt from the work of each participant created during each eight-week session will also be included in an anthology to be published near the conclusion of the project in September 2011.
The Cohoes (N.Y.) Public Library conducted a series of four, free workshops in memoir and personal writing in various forms. Marea Gordett, poet and nonfiction writer, presented the sessions. In these workshops, writers transformed moments and events of their lives into prose and poetry of witness, memory, or hope. The workshops introduced techniques such as free writing, guided visualization, and writing about photographs to capture experience in imagery and detailed language. A fifth meeting day was scheduled for a public reading for writers that wished to read their work.
The Oakland (Calif.) Public Library offered Oakland Word, a series of free creative writing workshops, most lasting for a month, designed to provoke dialogue and encourage creativity among underrepresented youths and adults funded by a grant from the California State Library. Participants could choose from a number of formats, such as life stories (including programs in Spanish and Cantonese), poetry, culinary writing, fiction, and songwriting.
The Mission branch of the San Francisco Public Library partnered with WritersCorps to provide urban fiction writing workshops. Offered to young adults ages fourteen through twenty-two, the program built upon the participants’ favorite urban fiction stories to help them write their own.
Tompkins County Public Library in Ithaca, New York, offered a five-part science fiction writing series facilitated by theoretical physicist Carl Frederick to tie in with its 2010 Community Read of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Participants of all ages and skill levels were invited to learn valuable tools for developing story elements, storytelling technique, critiquing skills, and the business of short story writing. The writers also were given an opportunity to share their work during a closing reception.
The Fayetteville (Ark.) Public Library offered six-week creative writing workshops for students in grades three through five. The sessions helped students explore creative fiction writing through activities designed to stretch their imaginations in a fun and relaxed setting.
The Deschutes (Ore.) Public Library teamed with Oregon Poetic Voices Project (OPV) to host two writing workshops. The first, “Speak, Memory: A Memoir Writing Workshop for Beginners” featured fun, interactive exercises to help participants begin writing about the most meaningful memories of their life. The second workshop, “The Poetry of Picture Books: A Children’s Writing Workshop for Beginners,” gave participants in introduction to the children’s picture book form then engaged them in creative brainstorming exercises to mine their childhood for inspiration and begin developing a character and problem for potential stories. Both programs were for ages sixteen and older.
How does your library get it write?
Angela Hanshaw is Program Officer/Web Editor for the ALA Public Programs Office.