How do you give teen's a voice at your library? In 2018 we saw adults sit up and take notice of teen voices and we need to keep the power in their hands to tell their own stories. Creating art and writing programs and publications is one way the library can support teen expression and provide access to a generation of diverse and thoughtful voices.
Johnson County Library’s teen literary magazine, elementia, was launched in 2005 at the request of a creative crew of teens who had petitioned the library for a writing group. In that first issue, 22 pieces of teen writing were published and distributed at the library.
Today, elementia is still driven by a diverse group of teens who serve on editorial and design committees, curating and creating the magazine and accepts over 700 pieces of writing and art each year. Library staff host programs and partner with schools to connect the magazine to teens all around the Kansas City metro area. Each issue is dedicated to an author or artist, selected by the teen editorial committee, who gives a keynote talk at the launch of the new issue along with teen poets and authors reading their work. The event kicks off the free distribution of over 2,000 copies of the print magazine in the community, spreading teen creativity farther than any one school or city boundary.
Learn how one literary magazine transformed from a zine printed on library copy machines, to an award-winning publication. Hear from teens, library staff and authors about how the opportunity to have their voices amplified by the library has impacted them. Get inspired to harness the power of a teen driven publication for your community that asks other teens, teachers, community members and published authors to say, "I see you. I hear you. You matter."
ALA Unit/Subunit: YALSA
Meeting Type: Program
Cost: Included with full conference registration.