Supporting creative writers at the library

For Immediate Release
Thu, 06/27/2019


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing

American Library Association


CHICAGO — 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 can welcome writers through informed programming and knowledgeable reference service. “Mapping the Imaginary: Supporting Creative Writers through Programming, Prompts, and Research,” published by ALA Editions, points the way towards making it happen. Riley Hanick, Micah Bateman, Jennifer Burek Pierce’s book enables programming and outreach librarians, reference staff, and educators to understand writers’ needs and then shows how to address these needs through library services and resources. Featuring a Foreword by Elizabeth McCracken, 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.

Hanick is the author of “Three Kinds of Motion: Kerouac, Pollock, and the Making of American Highways” (Sarabande Books, 2015). His writing has appeared in The Sonora Review, Seneca Review, No Depression, eyeshot, Labor World, and many other publications. He has tutored and helped to facilitate creative writing programs in prisons, public schools, libraries and domestic violence shelters. Bateman is a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is an Andrew W. Mellon Engaged Scholar Initiative Fellow and the assistant director of the New Writers Project M.F.A. program. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop as well as the recipient of the Poetry Society of America's Lyric Poetry Award, and his chapbook of poems, “Polis,” is published by the Catenary Press. Burek Pierce is associate professor in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Iowa and the author of “Sex, Brains, and Video Games, Second Edition: Information and Inspiration for Youth Services Librarians,” now in its second edition. She created the "Youth Matters" column and contributed to American Libraries for more than a decade. She was awarded the 2018 Donald G. Davis Article Award by the Library History Round Table (LHRT) for her article “The Reign of Children: The Role of Games and Toys in American Public Libraries, 1877-1925,” published in Information & Culture.

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. ALA Editions and ALA Neal-Schuman publishes resources used worldwide by tens of thousands of library and information professionals to improve programs, build on best practices, develop leadership, and for personal professional development. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a growing range of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5052 or