Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Write the Hook - Story Writing Contest

This Fall we are holding a writing contest, in honor of NaNoWriMo, to challenge teens to write the hook for a book. What's a hook? A hook is the beginning lines or pages of a book written to hook the reader's attention. A hook is what impels the reader to want to continue reading the story.

Contest rules and the google form entry link are found below.

What is NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month happens every November. It's the world's largest writing challenge; designed for people who aspire to writing a book. Participants commit to writing 50,000 words during the month of November. To participate create a free account at, the official site for ages 13 and up. Then, post your daily word counts, display samples of your writing, and discuss your progress (if you choose) in forums with other writers. Or, if you are age 17 or younger and want to participate for the first time, you could start with NaNoWriMo's Young Writer's program. This program allows you to set individualized goals. So instead of the set 50,000 word goal you set your own goal of 1,000 words,10,000 words, or 100,000 words.  

Write the Hook Contest Rules
  • Write the hook for the beginning of something longer; for the start of a story or book.
  • 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 1,000(maximum)words.  
  • Maximum of 1 entry per author.
  • Give your story hook a title. 
  • Entries due by midnight, Sunday, December 12, 2021.
The preferred method for story submission is via the google form link below. Entries will also be accepted in paper form, but your entry 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 from the contest.
The Write the Hook contest is closed.
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 $50, and Second $30, 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 2022, 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.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

September is #LibraryCardSignupMonth!

This year, Marley Dias, founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks, author and executive producer, is taking on a new role as honorary chair of Library Card Sign-Up Month. In her new role, Dias will promote the value of libraries and encourage everyone to get their very own library card. 


A library card is the most essential school supply of all!

Lost your library card? Get a free replacement this month. September is National Library Card Sign-up Month and we've got a brand new card that is actually two cards, a regular one and a key chain card. You get both.

Through access to technology, media resources and educational programs, a library card gives you tools to succeed in the classroom, provides opportunities to pursue your dreams and passions, and saves you money. Empower yourself: Sign up for your own library card this September. 

Get to know Marley in this Meet the Changemakers WNET Youth Collective Summit video from September 2, 2021:

 Seven Lucky Ways to Save Using Your Library Card

🍀Library of Things - Having an outdoor party? Borrow one of our lawn games from our Library of Things such as: Badminton, Bocce Ball, Bucketball, Cornhole, Discgolf, Frisbee Ball, Ladder Toss, Lawn Dice, Lawn Dominoes, and/or Spikeball.

🍀Creativebug - Learn a new craft or hobby by taking a free online class. Creativebug has unlimited online access, at no charge, to over 1000 online art and craft classes on knitting, crocheting, ceramics, jewelry, paper crafts, sewing, and more. The classes do not expire and can be watched any time.

🍀Freegal - Freegal is a free music service that offers access to about 15 million songs, including Sony Music's catalog of legendary artists, and over 40,000 music videos. Our subscription to Freegal gives you five downloads per week, and three hours of streaming per day. For more information, click here.

🍀Mango Languages - Mango has conversation-based instruction in over 70 different languages. Use spoken lessons, recorded responses, quiz slides, color-mapping, and grammar and culture notes to build vocabulary, fine-tune pronunciation, identify patterns, and more.

🍀Hoopla - Ditch one of those subscription services you rarely use and stream movies, TV shows, music, and audiobooks for free through Hoopla using your library card. Plus Hoopla's ebooks are always available - no holds, no wait. You can borrow up to four items per month.

🍀Kanopy - Like Hoopla, Kanopy is also a media service for viewing movies, documentaries, foreign films and more, available for streaming across multiple devices. You can borrow up to six items per month.

🍀Overdrive - Save money on magazines, audiobooks, and eBooks by borrowing them for free with your library card on OverDrive. Download the Libby App for this service.