A Library Youth Event - Poetry Grand Slam

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Teenage poetry slams in Dorset libraries with Brenda Read-Brown on 6-8 August 2008.


Target audience

We wanted to advertise and celebrate existing youth sessions (exclusively for teenagers, out of normal library opening hours) at Swanage and Lyme Regis libraries, as well as promoting Littlemoor library, where we are hoping to attract a new group of young people to similar sessions, who might not be aware of this aspect of our work.

Advertising was concentrated on Years 7, 8 and 9 in the local schools and libraries; a breakfast slot on Radio Solent helped boost the numbers at Swanage.

About the project

After the success of Dreadlock Alien performance poetry events, we wanted to try something new, with Brenda Read-Brown a poet/writer with local connections.

Brenda ran workshops at each library, involving games and activities, before inspiring each person to write a couple of poems. A “mini-slam” was held after a practical demonstration on performance skills, with small prizes for all participants and book tokens for the overall winner at each library.


The poet and refreshments were paid for from the National Year of Reading budget. Staffing took two members of the Libraries’ Youth team. The Youth Service accompanied one group to the final.


All except one participant attended the final slam at Weymouth library, which was open to the public. Poems were performed in two rounds, scored on audience reaction, performance, and content. All attendees were awarded a certificate; the main prizes were book tokens totalling £65, provided by Waterstone’s.

The girls in the final outweighed the boys by 2:1.

All participants said they would like to do it again and would continue writing poetry.


Dorset Library Service Reading and Community Learning Manager 01305 228527/224450 dorsetforyou.com

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