Tuesday, October 10, 2023

3rd Annual Write the Hook Contest

The Library's 3rd annual Write the Hook contest is open! Write your hook for a story. What's a hook? A hook is the beginning lines or pages of a story written to hook the reader's attention. A hook impels the reader to want to continue reading to find out what happens next. We can't wait to read this year's entries!

 Link to the Online Entry Form 

🖉🖉 Contest Rules 🖉🖉
  • Write the hook for the beginning of something longer; for the start of a story.
  • Open to teens in grades 6 to 12, who are residents of Essex County in Massachusetts.
  • Entry must be your original work and have a word count between 300(minimum) and 1,200(maximum)words.  
  • Maximum of 1 entry per author.
  • Give your story hook a title. 
  • Entries due by midnight, Sunday, December 31, 2023.

The preferred method for story submission is via the online contest entry form

Entries will also be accepted in paper form, but it must be typed in 12 point Times New Roman font on 8.5"x 11" paper. If you submit your entry on paper you must include on the back of the last page: your first and last name, grade level, phone number, email, and word count. Paper entries that do not follow the above guidelines will be disqualified.

Our contest judges will use a rubric that scores points based on:
  • Length: Is the entry between the minimum and maximum word count?
  • Story Hook: Does the writing hook you? Do you want to find out what happens next?
  • Character(s): Is/are the character(s) clearly described?
  • Writing: Does the word choice convey a clear picture? 
  • Grammar: How is the spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.?
  • Creativity!: original ideas? surprising? imaginative?
 $ Cash Prizes to be Awarded $
Prizes are funded by the Friends of the Hamilton-Wenham Library.
First $60, and Second $40, place cash prizes awarded to: 
Writers in Grades 6-8
Writers in Grades 9-12
Contest winners and any honorable mentions will be announced in January 2024, both on this blog and individually to the winners. Winning stories, along with author's name and grade level, will be published here on the Library's Informed Teens blog.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Otherworldly October Thursdays

It's almost here - our Otherworldly October event series! Please join us for a series of magical & mysterious programs in October. Every Thursday evening there will be an event for teens & adults to enjoy in celebration of the Fall season.

Spirits of the Bay State: The Ghosts of Massachusetts with Roxie Zwicker
Thursday, October 5, 6:00—7:30 PM 
On October 5, join us to learn about the ghosts of Massachusetts in a spine-chilling presentation by “New England’s Scary Godmother” and "mystery maven," Roxie Zwicker. The Bay State is home to some of the most historic places in America, what ghostly stories can be found walking down its many old roads and highways? Find curious abandoned places, haunted beaches, tavern ghosts and eerie cemeteries. Take a spirited journey highlighting stops in many local cities and towns as we explore stories & legends of mysterious area haunts.

Intro to Tarot for Teens & Adults
Thursday, October 12, 6:00—7:30 PM

Join tarot teacher, Laura Campagna, for a fun workshop on how to read tarot. No experience necessary. Participants will connect with their intuition and gain confidence in reading for themselves or friends. Each guest will receive a Smith-Waite tarot deck to keep. Please bring a journal to use during the workshop. If you don't have one, no worries, there will be pens and paper available for use.
This workshop is open to teens (ages 13+) and adults. 
Registration required, space is limited.

Autumn Lantern Craft

Thursday, October 19, 6:00—7:30 PM
           On October 19th, join us to make an autumnal mason jar lantern. Bring a little light to the longer nights with this cozy craft. All supplies are provided, and patrons will leave with a finished lantern & flame-less votive candle. This workshop is open to teens and adults. Registration required, space is limited.
Thursday, October 26, 6:00—7:45 PM
                   Drop in for a screening of The Addams Family (1991, Rated PG-13).  Synopsis: A stranger shows up on the Addams' doorstep, claiming to be a long-lost uncle. However, he is really a ringer in cahoots with a lawyer; and the two are trying to dupe the ghoulish family out of their fortune.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Graffiti Art Contest Winners

Congratulations to our Graffiti Art Contest winners!! There were 9 paintings entered in the contest. Over the past 4 weeks 192 votes were cast. Claire Adler received the most votes for Best Use of Color. Kai Geraghty-Sari received the most votes for Best Design, and Sam Bourque received the most votes for Originality.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

August and Beyond

We've got two weeks to go in our summer reading programs - but, despair not, you can still register on our Beanstack platform and have a chance to win a prize. Speaking of prizes please drop by the teen area and vote for three of the graffiti paintings on display. I'll be announcing the contest winners here. Visit the Library to cast your votes on Saturday August 12, and enjoy an hour long indie-pop acoustic concert with singer-songwriter Peryle! Concert will start at 2:00pm. Peryle's songs are personal & introspective, often reflecting on love, loss, & self-discovery. Recently, Peryle unveiled her first single, Story. Hear for yourself why her voice & songwriting captivate audiences!










Beginning August 15, you can sign up for the Chess Club that starts September 20. There will be 8 Wednesday afternoon sessions for beginning or intermediate players, ages 8 to 13. Find out more information and sign up for the beginner or intermediate session here. Space is limited to 10 participants, registration is required.

Coming up in October the Adult Services Librarian and I are collaborating on running a 4 week series of programs for teens and adults we're calling Otherworldly October, featuring a tarot workshop, New England ghost stories, and more. Check back, I'll be posting details soon.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023


Find Your Voice this Summer--Programs start June 24 and continue through August 10. To register visit the Library's Calendar of Events and click on the workshop you'd like to attend. This year's summer reading challenge on our Beanstack platform also starts June 24. The challenge runs for 7 weeks with weekly raffle drawings for gift certificates to local businesses. You may enter the challenge at any time during the 7 weeks. Find out more information here. If you earn the reading challenge completion badge, you will be entered into an extra drawing in August for a fun goody bag and surprise gift certificate (there's already been a request for the Lego store...so maybe that will be in the goody bag or maybe something else...). The weekly drawings and winners are posted here.


Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Teen Programs Preview

Save the Dates!

Here are teen programs coming up at the Library - 

we're already stacking them up for summer!

Click the picture to register.

Play D&D with Erick of Quest Master's Guild: We’ll make all the characters together at session one. No need to bring your own. We'll start at level 3, Max HP. You will have a choice of setting; whichever the majority wants to do from the following (in difficulty order): Fungeons and Flagons, Settling Debt, Seven Plunders of the World, Sunset on Avalon, Rime or Reason. Meets Saturdays every 3 weeks for 2 hours: February 18, March 11, April 1, April 22, May 13.  For teens in grades 6 through 12. Beginner's welcome. Registration required.
 Join us for a class on making Ukrainian eggs (Pysanky). Open to teens in grades 6 through 12.  Presented by Kati Bourque, (Head of Technical Services here at the Library). All supplies provided. Workshop is limited to 15 participants. Registration is required. 
Try your hand at graffiti. We'll supply the paint and a 30x40 inch canvas. All artwork will be displayed on the walls of the Library's teen area during our Find Your Voice summer reading program. During that time artwork will be voted on by teens and visitors to the exhibit; some prizes will be awarded. For teens entering grades 6 to 12 in Fall 2023.  Registration opens Saturday, June 3.

 ICNHA Certified Henna Artist Mandy Roberge will be here for this two hour session  for teens entering grades 6 to 12 in Fall 2023. Come chill to some beats, color a mandala, meet friends, & leave with a wicked good henna tattoo. Sign-up for a tattoo on the day. Tattoos will be done first come, first served, as time allows. Tattoos take approximately 5-10 minutes each to complete. 
 Make a Duckie Soap [Teen session]
Make your own soapy creation and add your choice of duckie, then take your handmade creation home. It can be removed from the mold the following day and used right away.
For teens entering grades 6 to 12 in Fall 2023.  Registration opens Saturday, June 3.
Make a Clay Yeti Luminaria

Craft a cute yeti with air dry clay. Make the body from a pinch pot and hand-build the arms, horns and a toothy smile, then paint it. Glowing from within is a battery-operated candle that illuminates the face. Battery-operated candle included.
For teens entering grades 6 to 12 in Fall 2023.  Registration opens Saturday, June 3.

Palmistry PaintingDivine your fortune when you paint this mystical canvas painting project. Paint a hand with a legend of the lines, and an eye with wings. Follow along with Pop up Art School to learn brush techniques and how to mix colors.  
For teens entering grades 6 to 12 in Fall 2023.  Registration opens Saturday, June 3.

Make a wire tree sculpture with Ryan Kelley. Bring your own rock (about the size of an adult sized closed fist) to use for the tree base to the workshop. Open to teens entering grades 6 to 12 in Fall 2023, and to adults.
Registration opens Saturday, June 3.


Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Reading Club

                                                         Join a relaxed and fun reading club for teens(grades 9-12). There's no pressure to read any book in particular. Just share what you are reading, talk about books, and read. That's it! Oh, and sometimes freshly baked cookies are involved. Teen-led by reading & baking enthusiast Katarina. 
Meet in the Local History Room on the 2nd floor of the Library,  Thursdays, 3pm to 4pm. Check the Library's Calendar of Events for meeting dates (no meeting the week between Christmas & New Year's).