While many may people may lament the perceived loss of the literate teen, we in libraries know that to be a fallacy. Writer’s groups are flourishing but as anyone whose run a writer’s group will tell you the teens want to get published. However, most writer’s groups are not full of S. E. Hintons and Francesca Lia Blocks. So what’s a librarian to do? Self publish! At least that’s what the cool kids are doing.
The Plainfield Public Library’s Teen Writers’ Group created their own literary magazine on almost no budget (ink and copying were only costs). Even the cover art was teen created. From January to May the teens submitted original work and promoted the magazine in their own schools. Then we collected the works and proofed during the first half hour of our meetings. By July we had corrected the submissions and I began formatting it into a magazine.
The formatting is the most difficult part of the process. To create the magazine I started with an 11X17 page in publisher which will give you an 8.5X11 magazine. The difficult part is getting the pages to layout correctly (1 following 2 following 3 and so on). I can give you a template if you desire firstname.lastname@example.org
The greatest part of this project was the pride in the teen author’s faces. They had an idea, followed through, and were able to hold a finished product in their hand. We had a release party were the teens shared their “published” writing.