Letter Writing Clinics

Librarians and Teachers to Host Letter Writing Clinics

Q. What could motivate Nebraska young people to write letters?

A. A great story—and the opportunity to tell an author about how a book made a difference in their own life.

Last year teachers and librarians across Nebraska were recently awarded grants to host pilot Letter Writing Clinics for students in their area. The clinics introduced students to the Letters About Literature contest and letter writing techniques. Students got ideas for selecting books and learned how to craft letters that can be submitted to the Letters About Literature contest, a national reading and writing promotion program (from the library of Congress) that anually engages nearly 50,000 adolescent and young readers in grades four through twelve. The competition encourages young people to read, be inspired, and write back to the author (living or dead) who had an impact on their lives.

Again this year, Nebraska teachers and librarians are invited to host Letter Writing Clinics in their communities. The Resources in this website can help with teaching students how to select books and how to craft letters to the authors that wrote the books that made a difference in their lives. Letter Writing Clinic components include:
a) Choose a target audience and select promotional activities and resources to match the audience.
b) Plan activities for the Letter Writing Clinic (the clinic can involve two sessions--one to introduce the idea and to help the students to select books and another to learn letter writing techniques and to craft the letters.
c) Following the clinic(s), completed letters should be collected and submitted to the contest when it officially opens in September.

Keep up with Letter Writing Clinic activities on social media at www.facebook.com/NebraskaCenterfortheBook.

Target Market for Letter Writing Clinics: The target market(s) are selected by the teacher or librarian. The grade-level competition categories for the contest are set by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Contest participants compete on three levels:

  • Level I for young readers in grades 4-6
  • Level II for young adult readers in grades 7-8
  • Level III for readers in grades 9-12

Deadlines: The Letter Writing Clinic deadline is April 15, 2018.

The Contest deadline for all Levels to submit letters is December 2018.

Letters About Literature Contest: To learn more about the Letters About Literature Contest, refer to the Letters About Literature web page on The Nebraska Center for the Book’s website. Deadline for letters: December 2018.

2018 Letter Writing Clinics Grant Information

Timeline for the Grant Opportunity:

Grant Applications Accepted: February 15, 2017 to April 15, 2018
Grant Deadline: April 15, 2018, 11:59 p.m. CT
Notification: April 30, 2018

Funded Letter Writing Clinics must be held no later than October 31, 2018

Purpose of Grant: Grants will support Letters About Literature (LAL) Letter Writing Clinics (held in Nebraska) to introduce students to the Letters About Literature contest and letter writing techniques.The Letter Writing Clinic/Letters About Literature competition should NOT be a required school assignment and Clinics should be offered at no charge to interested students.

Grant Amount: Five $300 grants will be  awarded in April 2018. The grant funds can be used for items such as instructor honorarium, supplies, marketing, small participation prizes, etc.

Eligible Grant Applicants: Eligible Nebraska applicants include the following: public libraries, public and private schools (Elementary, Middle, Jr. High, High Schools), public librarians, public and private school librarians, and public and private school teachers (grades 4–12). Partnerships between teachers and librarians are encouraged.

Grant Expectations: Awarded applicants are expected to:

  • Provide information to the Nebraska Center for the Book - Mary Jo Ryan
    RE: time and location details about the Letter Writing Clinic at least two weeks prior to the event.
  • Report on how many students were served, how many letters were submitted to the contest, and the primary trainer for the clinic(s). Photographs taken during the clinic (along with signed Photo Releases) and samples of promotional and learning materials are appreciated.


Previous Grants: Five $300 grants were awarded in April 2017. The grant funds were used for items such as instructor honorarium, supplies, marketing, small participation prizes, etc. The 2017 Winning Applications were:

  • Lisa Guenther, Norfolk Catholic Elementary School Director of Reading, Norfolk
  • Jennifer Van Winkle, Lux Middle School Teacher, Lincoln
  • Lori Springer, Valparaiso Public Library Director, Valparaiso
  • Noelle Thompson, Lied Scottsbluff Public Library Director, Scottsbluff Library Foundation, Scottsbluff
  • Denise Ketchens, Oshkosh Public Library Director, Oshkosh

Grant opportunity provided by: The Nebraska Center for the Book
This grant opportunity is made possible by funding provided to the Nebraska Center for the Book by Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, with support from the Nebraska Library Commission.


Read. Be inspired. Write Back.



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Mary Jo Ryan, Nebraska Library Commission at 402-471-3434, 800-307-2665.