When I began thinking about what I wanted to do for my first ever Teen Read Week as a Youth Services Librarian, I was a little overwhelmed. It was early September, Summer Reading Program just ended (I was looking for a much needed breather), and when looking at my community room calendar, I realized it was totally booked through 2012. What could I do that would spark some interest and not require a group gathering? I looked to YALSA'S Teen Read Week website (http://teenreadweek.ning.com/
) for ideas and ta-da! Short Story Contest! Being that the theme was "It Came From the Library," I thought it would be fun to do a short SCARY story contest.
I looked into my programming funds and unclaimed SRP 2012 raffle prizes and I was ready to go. I was going to have two age divisions: high school and middle school. First place winners would receive Kindles, second place - $25 Target gift cards, and third place - $10 ITunes gift cards. I made a flier and plastered it all over the walls, posted on Facebook, and emailed every high school and middle school principal within a 10 mile radius. It was mid September at this point and the contestants would have until October 26th to turn it in.
I have to say, receiving my first entry was by far the most exciting moment of the contest for me. The poor girl just about jumped a foot when I screamed as she handed it over. They were writing! This might work!
Come October 26th, I had 62 middle school contestants and ONE high school contestant. Yay for all the entries, bummer about my high schoolers. I quickly rearranged the divisions: 6th-7th graders and 8th - high school.
Luckily, my Branch Manager and Library Assistant agreed to help me score the stories and by announcement date (November 2nd), we had our winners.
I posted the winners on a sign in the library entrance way, on Facebook, and I called them individually. It was a blast telling the winners, especially Joshua (see picture) who said that he's never won anything his whole life. His mom whispered to me that nobody in their family had ever won anything.
It took a lot of time reading and judging those stories, but I got a lot of chuckles out of it and I actually got scared way more than I thought I would. This might be a new Carmel Valley tradition! Question to ponder for next year: how do I get more high school entries?