Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Happy 20th birthday, Teen Ink!

When people ask me what made me decide to become a librarian, I always tell the story of my first trip to the local public library. At least, it's the first one I can remember. I walked into the children's room and thought, "This is home."

In the twenty years that passed between the first time I checked out Dorrie and the Birthday Eggs and the time I received my MLIS, I went through a few other career ponderances. When I was five, I wanted to be a ballerina and a bus driver. I can't dance and I hate to drive, so I'm sure you can imagine how that turned out. When I was a freshman in high school, I wanted to be a writer. I'm sure if I'd known about Teen Ink then, I'd have tried my hand at submitting something. In my librarian years (which followed my professional musician years), I've encouraged my aspiring writer teen patrons to submit to this magazine, which has 100% teen-written content.

Although my passion was fiction when I was in high school, Teen Ink prints essays, poetry, short stories, visual art, and book reviews, so there's something in there for most creative teens. They also offer blogs on a variety of subjects, and teen readers can friend them via MySpace and Facebook. Most importantly -- and this IS important in an age where anyone can put up a website about anything -- Teen Ink will never charge a teen money to get published. Their content is diverse; they've published essays ranging to "Why I'm Not on Facebook" to "The Final Exam." If you haven't read it yet, pick up a copy. I think you'll be surprised in a good way.

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