Library Program KitNearly all libraries host author events of one kind or another: book signings, story times, author readings and lectures.

The Author’s Showcase, developed and hosted by the Library Staff Development Committee at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a different kind of author event: rather than inviting authors in, they are celebrating the work of the many talented and creative artists who also work in libraries all over campus. Types of creative work from poetry to fiction are submitted by staff members, culminating in an Authors’ Reception in December.

Program organizer Erin Lorandos told us a little about the Authors’ Showcase in the fall of 2011:

"time" by Erin Lorandos

poem by Erin Lorandos

[Former library staff member] Penny Bierman and I had the idea after attending the yearly Staff Art Show (which is also put on by the Staff Development Committee). We thought that it would be great to showcase art other than the physical kind. I took the idea to the Staff Development Committee and they loved it! We originally decided to do it in December because the Art Show has historically been in the spring or summer and we didn’t want to step on their toes. Penny and I developed the submission guidelines/criteria together last year, and it hasn’t changed much since. We wanted this to be open to ALL writing styles and all writers.

The first Showcase was held last December [2010]. I had put out a call for submissions in the fall, and while they sort of trickled in at first, we eventually had 7 or 8 participants, including Penny and myself. The reception was open to anyone who wanted to attend, and we had refreshments available (which always seems to be a big draw). At the reception, any of the participating authors who wanted to could read some or all of their submission and then the audience could ask them questions or comment on their work. We had about 30 people come to the reception, though not all stayed for the whole thing.

As for the future, I would love to have even more participation this year then we did last year! Perhaps I can do more publicity and get the word out – I think we were a bit disorganized with that last year, but some of that was because we were just testing the waters too.

I would suggest to anyone trying this out in their own library to have a good set of guidelines in place before you send out the call. It seems like something (adults) wouldn’t have to worry about, but people get a bit persnickety with these types of things – so I guess it’s always good to be prepared. Also – along the same lines, you never know what you’re going to get, so be ready for anything!

Here’s a link to our Past Programs page from the Staff Development Committee – we don’t really take pictures of events, but for this program, we put the work up that authors were willing to let us publish.

http://staff.library.wisc.edu/org/staffdev/past_events.html (under 2010)

 

What’s in the Author Showcase’s future? Erin hopes to have the writing by showcase participants up and running prior to the program this year so people can read the works at their leisure and then come to hear the authors speak. And who knows, perhaps someday a full website or print publication to collect the works by library staff.

Click here to download the Author Showcase Kit.
Click here to download the Author Showcase Submission Guidelines.

All work on this page is copyright of the featured artist.

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