Mapping the Imaginary: Supporting Creative Writers through Programming, Prompts, and Research

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Foreword by Elizabeth McCracken

Information professionals and educators can help patrons find their own stories in libraries—not only as readers, but also as writers.  Stories, whether fiction, nonfiction, or verse, often have research behind them, and libraries and archives constitute powerful resources that authors can tap into for adding historical background, telling details, dramatic tension, and unexpected ideas. Grounded in useful collections and information resources, libraries can welcome writers through informed programming and knowledgeable reference services, and in this book the authors point the way towards making it happen. Enabling programming and outreach librarians, reference staff, and educators to understand writers’ needs and showing how to address these needs through library services and resources, this book

  • draws on specific writing situations to illustrate the role of librarians and library resources in inspiring and creating stories of all kinds, from novels and plays to poetry, memoirs, and nonfiction;
  • provides dozens of prompts, writing exercises, and activities that libraries can utilize for outreach and programming endeavors such as NaNoWriMo and National Poetry Month;
  • offers astute observations on the connections between research and writing and discusses a wide range of resources, both print and electronic, that can address writers’ information needs;
  • presents select bibliographies on writing and writers’ lives integral to library collections that support a community of authors;
  • demonstrates how to use reference interviews as part of the research process;
  • suggests ways to cultivate a writing community at the library by hosting writing groups, staging author events, and other initiatives; and
  • shares advice on recruiting volunteers by reaching out to writers and teachers within the community.

With ideas and advice on programming, reference, and collection resources, this guide will support libraries’ efforts to actively and thoughtfully engage with writers in their communities.

Imprint: ALA Editions

Published: 2019

Pages: 232

Sku: 9780838918418

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