Welcome to Library Lions interviews.This month we're Raising a Roar for Cavalcade of Authors! It's an honor to introduce librarian Michelle Lane, creator of Cavalcade!
Michelle has been a librarian for 6 years. Here’s her school library “called The Cat’s Den” at Enterprise Middle School in West Richland, WA.
I’m 40…something and still play competitive softball. This summer I'll be busy with a supervisory/mentoring position with Antioch University for our new library program which is starting up here in the Tri-Cities.
I'm looking forward to speaking at WLMA in October regarding the Cavalcade of Authors and a new Young Adult – Washington website I am helping to develop that will be the go-to place for readers, writers, librarians, and booksellers in Washington State who love young adult fiction. I will be looking forward to a Janet Lee Carey author feature down the road here. (Janet note - Thanks Michelle!)
The Skinny – Tell us how Cavalcade of Authors began Michelle
Author Timothy Zahn inspired me. In September of 2009, I was presenting with author Maureen McQuerry at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Conference where I attended a workshop about author visits with a panel of authors speaking to what makes a successful author visit. Timothy Zahn brought up that he would much rather teach kids about writing rather than stand up and talk about himself and the rest of the authors concurred. Tim also mentioned a very successful teen book festival in Rochester that invited a large group of authors to work with teens from all over the city. I put the two ideas together and thought to myself, “I could totally do this for my students at Enterprise.” All the way home from Portland I brainstormed and planned. When I returned to school on Monday, I had a plan and started contacting authors to present at our school that April…and the rest is history!
In 2009 I started the Cavalcade of Authors at our school and 70 students from three middle schools in our district attended.
Our first year, we had seven authors on a budget of about $5,000. I wrote and received a $2500 grant from the Richland Education Foundation and received another $2,000 from Friends of the Mid-Columbia Libraries. The remainder of the money raised came from charging schools a small fee for an author visit done free by one of our authors.
(Janet Note - I had a blast presenting at Cavalcade in 2009!)
Photo 2009 author session with Alma Alexander.
The Cavalcade of Authors is dedicated to providing the secondary students of our region access to some of the best Young Adult authors of our modern era. Our special interest is to celebrate Pacific Northwest Authors while introducing students to a variety of genres and subject matter and to furthermore, promote reading and writing within our community.
We have provided for our participants an authentic writing conference experience. Students who qualify by reading a book from four of the authors, attend four 45 minute creative writing sessions each put on by a different author. A free t-shirt is awarded to students who read eight of the authors.
In 2010 we partnered with RADCON and held Cavalcade at the Pasco Red Lion for which RADCON paid. We had 225 students attend from seven secondary schools in our district and this time nine different authors presented. Each school paid $1000 for 50 of their students to attend the writing conference. Our budget in 2010 was just under $10,000. We collected around $3,000 from our city library and schools who paid for author visits.
This year we had 500 middle and high school students from 12 schools in our region, spill onto Columbia Basin College campus to see 11 young adult authors. Next year we will expect nearly 800 students.
2011 Author Panel
We created a partnership with our local college who hosted our event last March where 500 middle and high school students attended from 12 schools in our region on a $15,000 budget. We charged each school only $500 to send 50 students and received business / library donations and sponsorships to cover the remainder. We invited 11authors mostly from the Pacific Northwest, but this time several from around the nation.
In 2012, we expect to bring on six more schools for a total of 18 and we anticipate 800 students to be in attendance. Our authors total 12 and are mostly from around the nation, one from the UK, and a few from the Seattle area. We are now starting to cycle through our Pacific Northwest authors: Janet Lee Carey is our first to make a second appearance!
Check out our Cavalcade videos!
How do you do it all?
I have a team of librarians from the Richland and Kennewick school district and one Super Parent that help in the organization and planning. We work closely with Barnes and Noble Book Sellers who does all of our book sales throughout the year each year.
I have the daunting task next year of making $30,000 appear and it is making me nervous. My Super Parent is like a dog on a pork chop and together we have brought in at least $7,000 in the last week from Mission Support Alliance and RADCON, so I’m feeling a bit better these days. Every year fundraising for our project is quite the leap of faith…and nerve wracking, but each year we have met the challenge, thanks to our very supportive community!
Readers Roar. Let’s hear from the kids!
The most touching comment came this last spring from an 11th grade alternative high school student; shared in context by the organizer from the alternative high school in our district, Rivers Edge:
“[Organizing Cavalcade] is very challenging because of how fluid our student body is, as well as their poverty level; however, I’m still convinced it is well worth it. Because many of our students can’t afford a book or a T-shirt, I select Book Room copies that they’ve read to have signed during autograph time. This helps them look like everyone else and gives them a task to fill their time. I encourage them to have their program and/or T-shirt signed also. [This last year] Terry Trueman gave one of our students a signed copy of No Right Turn. On the bus going home that student said, “This is the first book I’ve ever owned and I’ll keep it all my life”. These words from an 11th grade boy brought tears to my eyes!”
– Paula Fallon, Organizer Rivers Edge
~ “It was wicked awesome! How we got to experience the life of an author.”
-Kathleen, 8th grade.
~ “What I liked about the Cavalcade of Authors is that I met students with the same interests as me and I got to know authors which kids don’t always get to do!”
-Sarah 8th grade.
~“I thought Cavalcade of Authors was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I loved how each author had something different to teach us and share their writing experiences and their careers.” - Breanna, 6th grade.
~ “I liked everything: The experience, all the nice authors, the people and how much I laughed!” – Becca Johnson, 8th grade.
~ “I liked the fact that these authors related so much about their personal lives to us.” – Alex, 11th grade
~ “I learned a lot about the intense and imaginative process of writing books.” - Matt, grade 12
Roars from the Authors!
~ “We were treated like rock stars, I tell you.” – Lorie Ann Grover, author.
~ “[What I liked most were] the kids. They were engaged and curious and asked insightful questions. – Brenda Cooper, author
~ “[What I liked most were] the attentive kids, the great staff, and the impressive organization.” – Stephen Wallenfels, author
~ “I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the quick minds, the incredible imaginations, and the sheer unbridled enthusiasm of your students”. – Alma Alexander, author
~ “I loved the way you organized [Cavalcade] having the kids read the authors' works in order to participate in the sessions. This made such a huge difference to the quality of our contact.” – Janet Lee Carey, author
Library Website: www.cavalcadeofauthors.org we will be updating 2012 information over the summer.
Blog:Our YA-WA website will be a website with a blogging page. www.ya-wa.com – This site is currently under construction but will be launched by July 16th, 2011.
Thanks again Michelle for the Special Edition Interview!
And thanks to fellow authors who have participated in Cavalcade of Authors for the past three years!
2009 Cavalcade of Authors
Arthur T. Lee
Janet Lee Carey
S. A. Bodeen
2010 Cavalcade of Authors
Lorie Ann Grover
2011 Cavalcade of Authors
Mary Jane Beaufrand
Melissa de la Cruz
Mary E. Pearson
Library Lions readers: Love Libraries? Give a Roar in “Comments” below.
Note to Librarians: If you’re a Youth Librarian working in a school or public library we’d love to hear about you and your library. Contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org for an interview slot.