The first step TBF Founder Stephanie Squicciarini took in 2005 was to gather a Planning Committee for the Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival, made up of personnel from both public and school libraries. Her ultimate goal was to move beyond the walls of public libraries and school buildings to reach out to teen readers and writers.
For more than ten years, TBF has been a collaborative venture between several school districts and the member libraries of the Monroe County Library System. MCLS provides library services to residents of Rochester and the twenty townships in the metropolitan region adjacent to the city. Additional librarians across three counties also volunteer on the Committee, working in collaboration with educators, TBF alumni, and interns.
These staff members meet together monthly to plan all aspects of the event and carry out numerous tasks year round. Many of the Planning Committee members gain invaluable feedback in developing and evaluating TBF from their own libraries’ Teen Advisory Boards, increasing interest in the event as they discuss the visiting authors and their books before attending TBF.
Each year, the Planning Committee tries to improve TBF. The cross-representation of the two types of libraries that often serve the same students in a community has helped significantly with locating teen talent to entertain at TBF, whether a DJ club, a step team, or a teen band.
Committee members have developed strong fund-raising events that help local teens attend the Festival on field trip buses. These fund-raisers have also helped to cover expenses for the Festival when the groups have shared donations directly with TBF. Their generosity has helped TBF remain free for everyone who wants to attend. The Planning Committee members spread the word about TBF, helping to annually recruit over 200 volunteers, both teens and adults, to run the day-long event.
The TBF Planning Committee created the original mission statement and goals for the book festival. Every year, they form subcommittees for the major tasks involved in hosting the Festival. Subcommittees include fund-raising, website creation and maintenance, author hospitality, volunteer coordination, and publicity. The Planning Committee is on a full-year planning cycle—one Festival just concludes when the committee goes through an evaluation process and begins planning the next event.
Author John Green who wrote the popular novel, The Fault in Our Stars, has said “I think the books that matter to you as a teenager matter to you throughout your life.” The TBF Planning Committee members know this is true! Their commitment and dedication to TBF has brought thousands of teens to the books and authors that matter to them the most. Besides being a professional service to the community, TBF has become a passion and labor of love.
Each and every Teen Book Festival would not be possible without the Planning Committee and their willingness to serve the Festival in a volunteer capacity. No one on the Planning Committee is paid for their role in TBF. Every dollar that is donated to TBF goes directly to the event. The committee’s hard work has made TBF an enormous success for ten years and counting! THANK YOU!
- Olivia Durant - Co-Director, Founding Member, Henrietta Public Library
- Colleen Hernandez - Co-Director, Webster Public Library
- Katie Smith - Co-Director, Wood Library, Canandaigua
- Caitlyn Stahovic-Barnes - Co-Director, Brighton Memorial Library
- Michelle Beechey - Monroe Community College
- Pamela Edholm - North Tonawanda City School District
- Zuzu Boomer-Knapp - Parma Public Library
- Laura Delgaizo - Frederick Douglas Community Library
- Sarah Dennison - Henrietta Public Library
- Miranda Eduardo - Social Media Marketing Coordinator, Former TBF Teen Volunteer
- Grace Frenzel - Livonia Public Library
- Karen Hultz - Founding Member, Retired Librarian
- Craig Marasco - Palm Beach County Library System
- Rachel Scott - Webster Public Library
- Alicia Vasquez - Newark Public Library
- Stephanie A. Squicciarini - (In memoriam) TBF Founder & Director, Fairport Public Library