Tuesday, December 30, 2014

State Library offering Teen Video Challenge

            The State Library of Louisiana will again participate in the Collaborative SummerLibrary Program’s Teen Video Challenge, a national video competition for teens to get involved with reading and their public libraries’ summer reading programs. Teenagers may enter the competition by creating a public service announcement that encourages teens to read and visit libraries during the summer using the theme “Unmask!” The deadline for video submission is March 13. The winning video from each participating state will be announced in the spring and used by public libraries nationally to promote summer reading. The creators of the winning state video will be awarded $150 and their associated public library will receive prizes worth $50 from the CSLP and Upstart. To view the 2014 videos and additional information, visit www.cslpreads.org. Rules and details for the challenge can be found on the State Library’s website, www.state.lib.la.us. Click Literacy and Reading, then Summer Reading Program and scroll to Teen Video Challenge.

            I’m a solid supporter of the arts and I love to see visual artists, musicians and performers getting breaks whenever possible. I have to say, it’s disappointing that writers are routinely left out of the mix, especially since A., we starve like the rest of them and B., we usually do it in solitude which makes it worse.
            Hooray for Chipotle Mexican Grill, which just opened in Lafayette near Whole Foods on Ambassador Caffery. They offer a “Cultivating Thought” author series that features original essays written by influential thought-leaders, authors, actors and comedians on its restaurant packaging. Created in partnership with New York Times best-selling author Jonathan Safran Foer (“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “Eating Animals,” “Everything is Illuminated”) who curated the series, these stories are meant to entertain customers while exposing them to some of the most creative and influential people of our time.
            The day I visited I read pieces by Toni Morrison (Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning author of “Beloved”) and Michael Lewis (“The Blind Side” and “Moneyball”) on our cups, surrounded by St. Thomas More students who I hoped would read their packaging before heading back to school.
            The “Cultivating Thought” author series also includes Sheri Fink, author of “Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital,” a book about Memorial Hospital of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

Coming up
            The Student Career Concepts and Enrichment Program Inc.\Just Write Cultural Arts Group will sponsor the African American Authors Round Table from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, at the Acadiana Mall’s Center Court Area. There will be authors from southwest Louisiana including, Lafayette, St. Mary Parish and New Orleans. In addition, the event offers an opportunity for parents, students, teachers, librarians and citizens to discuss with authors their joy of writing books. Visitors who stop by and visit with the authors will receive free items that include books, pens, pencils, posters and other items. The principal or librarian from the school with the most signatures will receive a gift. The deadline for authors to register is Jan. 16, 2015. The Student Career Concepts and Enrichment Program is a mentoring and job shadowing program. For information, contact Sherry T. Broussard at 261-1940, scce@lusfiber.net or visit lacsprograms.org.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.