By DEB SULLIVAN
On the Shelves
School is out, but for kids going into fifth and sixth grades, writing an essay this summer could be the ticket to standing on stage at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., come September.
The Library of Congress is sponsoring its second annual “A Book That Shaped Me” writing contest. The contest was launched last year as part of the District of Columbia Public Library summer reading club, and this year, it has expanded to include participating libraries in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Entry in this contest opens the door to an incredible opportunity: Winners will read their essays at the National Book Festival amid an impressive roster of accomplished authors and thousands of book enthusiasts.
To enter, students write a one-page essay describing a book that influenced them. It can be about one that they have read before, or a new one read this summer. We have a few hundred thousand books available here at York County Libraries ready for loan; there are bound to be some titles of interest on our shelves or eBranch. The book selected can be fiction or non-fiction.
The contest encourages kids to share how the book made an impression on their lives. Did it change their feelings about something or did it alter their perspective about themselves, their family or the world?
Entry forms are available at all 13 York County libraries and online at www.yorklibraries.org. Entries must be dropped off at one of the libraries no later than Aug. 12.
“This is about books,” said Paula Gilbert, director of children and youth services for York County Libraries. “No matter where kids are or who they are or what their experiences have been, books can show them the possibilities. The library is a place that can connect them and writing makes it real.”
Library staff members at all of our locations are available to help students through the process. Plus, Martin Library is gearing up for its first Local Author Week slated for July 8-13. This is a great resource for students planning on entering the contest. Several authors will be at the library that week talking about their books.
In addition, writers from the Paul Smith Library of Southern York County’s “Year of the Book” project will be at Martin Library 1:30 to 3 p.m. July 10 to help youth planning to enter the contest. Students are encouraged to bring their selected book along for writing ideas and inspiration.
Local children’s authors will select a winner from each of York County Libraries’ 13 locations to receive a $25 gift card. ‘A Book That Shaped Me’ will also award prizes to 30 state finalists, six state winners and three overall grand prize winners. State finalists, state winners and grand prize winners will be honored during a presentation at the 2013 Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., Sept. 21-22.