News & Events

MN Writes MN Reads launches Virtual Library Comic Convention (VLCC)

Click to access VLCC content.MN Writes MN Reads announced this week the availability of over 4,000 comics, graphic novels, and children’s materials as part of an innovative program to make this content freely available to all residents of Minnesota throughout the summer. This project is a collaboration with 9 other states and is intended to provide easy access to digital resources while also supporting statewide summer reading programs for all ages during the COVID-19 period. More eBooks will be released throughout the summer from additional children’s, comic book, and science fiction publishers.

“Firstly, we want to thank our valuable publishing partners who generously took the lead on driving the creation of this program,” said BiblioLabs CEO, Mitchell Davis. “We have worked on innovative eBook models at the state level for years and this shines a light on the close collaborations between publishers and libraries that are emerging today. This program has the potential to positively impact the lives of millions of people and highlights the role libraries have always served in being a provider of resources in a time of need.”  

All of the eBooks are available in an unlimited simultaneous use model and served to patrons via geolocation. “In the modern era, delivering and using statewide eContent resources should be as easy as catching an Uber, and we are proud to work with statewide library organizations and publishers adapting the digital library experience to modern user expectations. This model creates seamless support of information deserts throughout the state and ensures all states can provide a baseline eBook collection to all residents,” Davis added. The VLCC collection will be free to libraries and patrons through August 31st, serving as a valuable tool in statewide summer reading program support for all libraries. 

MN Writes MN Reads is also participating in a VLCC online event, to be held on July 30th, featuring interactive sessions with leading talent as well as librarians talking about grassroots graphic novel creation and local zine publishing programs available through public libraries. More details on the online event will be released soon.

The event is a collaboration with the canceled CoMIXgraphicCON, part of the Twin Cities Teen Lit Con. “When we had to cancel our event, we reached out to BiblioLabs to see if this project might help fill the gap for us and for other canceled events across Minnesota. They reacted quickly and we are now in the process of re-organizing around the new virtual format,” said Sarah Hawkins, Project Manager at the Metropolitan Library Services Agency (MELSA).

To access the comic and graphic novel collection and learn more, visit: https://mn-comics.biblioboard.com.

Announcing the First Annual “Minnesota Author Project: Communities Create” Contest

Minnesota public libraries are pleased to announce the call for entries in the first annual Minnesota Author Project: Communities Create contest. 

For Minnesota organizations and communities who have creative written work to share –  a short story collection from a classroom, a local history book by a team of librarians, a poetry anthology from a writers group, a cookbook by a local foodie society – this new contest is the perfect opportunity to get that work out to a wide audience and maybe win a contest in the process!

Marlene Moulton Janssen, board member of the Minnesota Library Foundation, which sponsors the Minnesota Author Project (along with Minnesota’s libraries and Bibliolabs), explains that this new contest category is designed “to recognize community-created writing and to highlight the central role that libraries play in providing support for local authors and the communities they serve.”

Submissions will be accepted from April 1-May 31, 2020.

The winning organization will receive:

  • A $1000 cash prize
  • Honors at the 2020 Minnesota Library Association Conference
  • An honorary plaque
  • Printing of the winning book and the opportunity to make the book available statewide in the Indie Minnesota collection on BiblioBoard Library
  • Media promotion throughout the state

In order to be eligible for the contest, the book must be:

  • have been created by a Minnesota-based organization
  • available in either PDF or ePub format
  • be of a recommended minimum length of 10,000 words or 20 pages

There are no genre or creation date restrictions, and organizations of all types are encouraged to submit their work, including nonprofits, libraries, schools, cultural groups, historical societies, artistry guilds, and beyond.

Groups are invited to submit entries at https://indieauthorproject.librariesshare.com/minnesota-creates/.  Groups that have content ready but need help formatting or creating a book file are encouraged to use the free MN Writes MN Reads self-publishing resources available to all Minnesota residents.

Call for entries in the Minnesota statewide author contest 

Minnesota Author Project creates opportunities for indie-published authors

Minnesota public libraries are pleased to announce the call for entries in this year’s statewide contest for independently-published Young Adult and Adult Fiction.  This is the contest’s third year.

Submissions will be accepted from April 1-May 31, 2020.

The winners will receive:

  • $1000 each in adult and young adult categories. Prizes sponsored by the Minnesota Library Foundation and BiblioLabs.
  • Honors at an Indie Author Project celebration reception in 2021
  • Opportunities to promote their book(s) at Minnesota public libraries
  • Inclusion in a full-page print spread in Library Journal, one of America’s oldest and most renowned trade publications for library news
  • If available, print copies will be purchased and made available for checkout through Minnesota’s public libraries.
  • Inclusion and promotion in Indie Minnesota

For indie-published authors, the contest is a great way to elevate their careers and business. Being recognized by libraries creates credibility and visibility in the growing marketplace of digital content and indie-published books. The 2019 contest winners attest to how career- and life-changing the award can be. Sarah Hanley, winner in the Adult Fiction category, describes how “the contest has connected me with readers from across the state and nation, and has opened up amazing opportunities.” Steve South, winner in the Young Adult Fiction category, shares that he “struggled for years to find a publisher for my book, which I wound up self-publishing…I now have a signed contract with a publisher.”

According to Publisher’s Weekly, the number of self-published books increased by 40% in 2018, totaling more than 1.4 million titles.  The Minnesota Author Project (combined with the MN Writes MN Reads suite of resources for writers to use to self-publish their work) provides libraries with a chance to encourage new work from this growing group.   This is a trend shared by libraries across the country.  Ran Walker, winner in the adult fiction category of the 2018 Virginia Author Project who went on to win the inaugural Indie Author of the Year award in 2019, notes that since getting involved with the Indie Author Project, “ I have learned the power of libraries and how necessary they are to the growth and success of my writing career.”

Don’t miss this chance to reach thousands of new readers via Minnesota’s libraries!

Each book that is submitted to the contest must be:

  • Independently-published
  • In the category of adult fiction or young adult fiction
  • Written by a Minnesota resident
  • Available in either PDF or ePUB format

Multiple submissions are welcome.

The contest is open for submissions April 1, 2019 through May 31, 2019. Authors are invited to submit entries and to check out the free self-publishing resources at mnwritesmnreads.org

And everyone, writers and readers alike, is encouraged to check out the Indie Minnesota library.  Download the Biblioboard Library app or read in your web browser.