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Visit Our New Website

The Mill Valley Public Library has a new website! Visit us here and update your bookmarks to

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Apply for the Teen Advisory Board

Do you love the Library? Do you wish there were more interesting things for high school students to do in Marin? Do you want a say in what materials, programs, and services the Library offers? Well, you’re in luck.gavel

What does being on the TAB entail?

  • A monthly meeting, beginning in September
  • A minimum 9-month commitment
  • Having a significant influence over what young adult programming happens at the Library
  • Getting leadership experience (which also happens to look good on things like college applications)
  • Promoting Library programs and services
  • Being awesome
  • Meeting volunteer requirements (if you have them)
  • Contributing to the Mill Valley community and expanding resources for teens all over Marin County

Applicants must be high school students

Click here to apply

The first meeting of the The Board will take place in the Creekside Room on September 29, at 7 PM.

Meetings will take place monthly, usually on the third Thursday of the month.

Do you have what it takes to be a TAB Officer? Apply here to be Co-Chair, Publicity Lead, or Secretary. Preference will be given to high school seniors who have served on TAB for one year.

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Pictures: Teen Poetry Slam 2016

Thanks to everyone who made the 2016 Teen Poetry Slam a success! Special gratitude to Jazz Hudson–our brilliant emcee–as well as Tim Floreen, Shane Curtin, and Lalé Shafagi for bravely agreeing to the impossible task of judging these talented poets.

Most most most of all, I am so awed, inspired, and grateful for the bravery of our high school poets who made the evening absolutely unforgettable! Thank you!!

Video of the Competition to come. FGF_7118FGF_7115FGF_7114 alex_fave_FGF_7228 alex_FGF_7288 Alex_FGF_7289 ali_FGF_7319 Ali_J_FGF_7141ben_FGF_7175 ben_FGF_7183 emma_FGF_7215 emma_FGF_7223 jessie_performFGF_7210 judges_FGF_7097 judges_FGF_7234 katiejazz_FGF_7281 Megan_FGF_7302 megan_FGF_7304 Olivia_FGF_7198 olivia_FGF_7282maxine_FGF_7163maxine_FGF_7167 FGF_7131stephanie_FGF_7380sit smile_FGF_7102winpeace_FGF_7379group_FGF_7257emma and jessieFGF_7244clappy_clap_FGF_7225crowd_FGF_7352jessieandalexFGF_7381fans_FGF_7095fans_2_FGF_7092 emmapals_FGF_7245timandoliviaFGF_7391

all photos by Frank Fennema Photography

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How to Write by Nate Smith

Q: How do I write a great novel/novella/essay/article?

This is a big question, but I’ve broken it down into 4 easy steps:

  1. Read lots of books! You can’t be a great writer unless you’re a great reader first. find a few authors who you really enjoy reading and hone in on why you enjoy their work.
  1. Create an outline. Writing is hard when you don’t know what you want to say! Outlines make the writing process more efficient and help keep you organized.
  1. Sit down and write. Start at the beginning. Realize you hate your first sentence and delete it. Start again, but this time think for a few minutes before you start. Type a new sentence. You hate this sentence too, so you delete it. Repeat this cycle a couple more times, thinking, typing, deleting. Declare yourself sick with writer’s block and watch an episode of Mad Men instead. You were too slow to stop Netlfix’s autoplay so you watch a second episode of Mad Men as well. Justify it by telling yourself that you’ll start writing again after this episode. You don’t. It’s midnight by the time the credits roll, and you’re too tired at this point. Sleep on it and hope for for inspiration in the morning. You wake up with no inspiration. Go to school, then work,, and forget completely that you were going to write about that pressing subject you wanted to so badly last night. Get home, eat dinner, finally find that little post-it note you stuck to your monitor reminding you that you were going to write and boot up your word processor. Encounter the same problem you did last night, give up, watch more Mad Men, and then go to bed. You have created about 20 different introductions at this point, all of which are shitty. Repeat, trying different inspirational tips you find online in order to overcome this block. You take long showers now, because you read somewhere that Judy Blume does that for ideas. You try retyping the Great Gatsby to get a feel for great writing, but give up after page 17. Repeat, with various ideas. One night, a few weeks later, you’re taking out the recycling and a piece of paper falls out of your bin. It’s a scrapped first sentence from your (unsuccessful) “pen and paper” phase. Reading it now, though, it’s actually pretty good. You start writing the rest of your magnum opus off this sentence, and by midnight, you have not seen a single minute of Breaking Bad (you finished Mad Men a few days ago) and now have a first draft. Fall asleep with a sense accomplishment for the first time in months. You keep working on your writing every night. A few weeks later, you find an old second draft. You haven’t realized it, but the final version is totally different from this draft: the sentences are crisper, the themes are clearer, and the introduction is totally different. You read this draft again and remember how hard it was for you to write that introduction, how much time you spent laboring meticulously over every single word, only to change in in a future revision. And then you realize that it doesn’t matter what you start out writing, that it would be edited later anyways. You just needed to start.
  1. Check for typos! Everyone makes little mistakes in their writing. Be sure to triple proofread before you publish!


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Creative Writing Workshops; Wednesday nights from 7-8:30 PM

Forget about essays and homework and discover means to truly write creatively at these weekly CRWRinstaworkshops. In these drop-in, informal, supportive workshops, we will read and discuss poetry, fiction, non-fiction, slam poetry, and any other type of writing that strikes our fancy. These workshops offer the opportunity to explore your writing skills in a relaxed, fun environment. Creative Writing Workshops aren’t about getting a good grade or writing a critical analysis, they are about trying new things and creating something exciting to put on a blank page.

313393_283129255049078_100000560186552_1070834_1377457794_nIf you don’t feel like writing, that’s fine too, you are always welcome to just hang out, eat candy, and listen to what others have to say. 

Student writing can be found here.

Like our Facebook page here.

Creative Writing links of interest can be found here.

Contact Katie (workshop facilitator and Young Adult Librarian) here. 

Workshops are open to high school students, including rising freshmen and recent high school graduates only

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MyCast: Your Story, Your Voice, Your Podcast

What’s your story?mycast2_web_banner

The radio show is making a comeback with the increasing popularity of podcasts like Serial, Radiolab, and Welcome to Night Vale. Thanks to a grant from the California Library Association, the Mill Valley Library was able to offer high school students the opportunity to create their own podcasts.

Students wrote and recorded podcast episodes on a wide range of subjects. MyCast episodes feature student-written fiction, interviews, opinion and reported pieces, and much more. Take a listen to some of these engaging episodes and let us know what you think!


 Listen to the MyCast episodes  here or below

TABcast by the Teen Advisory Board

Brains – Eat or be Eaten by Charlotte, Emma, and Cooper

The Burning Sanders Extravaganza by David H. and Imran K.

Fill in the Blank – Food: Day 1 by Pim and Sarah

deBAIT – Moon Landings

Hermit Tales by Cooper L.

deBAIT podcast

Rambles with Derrick J.

Kids – Isabella’s Poetry Podcast by Isabella V.

The Last Girl on Earth by Ariana Agnew

Athena as a Feminist Icon by Vicens

A Play of Performers and a Performance of Players by Anne P.

“Rocky Horror” interview by Fiona B.

How to Prepare for Winter by Weston D.



Read the Mill Valley Patch’s article about MyCast here.

The Mill Valley Library is located at 375 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley, CA 94941

Contact the Young Adult Librarian at 415-389-4292 x 4727

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To Not Remember Is Not A Crime by Maxine Flasher-Duzgunes

I don’t remember my wall of sticky notes and witty quotations, because all the dates have days but no months.

I don’t remember how I’d write in between the graph paper with numbers, and outside the lines with words.

I don’t remember how those thoughts made it to my wall of sticky notes and witty quotations. I guess everyone made it happen that way.


I don’t remember my 3rd grade poetry. Frankly, I must have told myself to forget it.

I don’t remember my light up shoes or my Mary Janes.

I don’t remember my jump rope or my favorite basketball that goes flat minutes after you fill it up with air.

I don’t remember my sunglasses liking the top of my head so much better than my eyes.

I don’t remember when candy was a luxury, and apples were a form of distress.

I don’t remember my lips smiling, as they do here. Maybe it was because of my overbite, or maybe it was because only now did someone decide to pull my cheeks by both ends.

I don’t remember making friendship bracelets. I didn’t know how. Someone must have taught me though.

I don’t remember opening birthday gifts like I was dismantling a bomb. I didn’t tear them open, like any other kid would. I wasn’t demanding of anyone. I didn’t have a wish list, well, not a realistic one.

I don’t remember eating so many pita chips that I decided to do pushups to make up for the extra carbs.

I don’t remember loving chocolate covered blueberries. I bought them, but I didn’t love them.

I don’t remember stuffing toilet paper in my mouth and chewing it like gum. I don’t remember that.


I don’t remember waltzing in my room to the lead of an imaginary boy, at an imaginary middle school, in an imaginary 7th grade.

I don’t remember writing poems to that imaginary boy, and throwing pens and wads of binder paper.

I don’t remember being asked to sit in the corner by the sub because I was throwing pens and wads of binder paper.

I don’t remember wearing a poncho for the imaginary boy, and tightening my jeans, and laughing unnecessarily at space.

I don’t remember the imaginary boy lying. Who would remember that? I definitely would not.

I don’t remember saying that this boy was imaginary.


I don’t remember learning how to ride a bike when I was eleven-years-old, because I was seven-years-old and it was a scooter.

I don’t remember picking at my nails. No one does, until there’s nothing left.

I don’t remember sticking a handstand like a gymnast or a spastic English teacher.


I don’t remember hugging a guy until it was set choreography, and every dancer blushed.

I don’t remember seeing so many veins in my hand, dirt in the creases behind my ears.

I don’t remember writing a play until I figured out I was in one.

I don’t remember what my t-shirt says. I know what it says:

“I remember.”



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Click here for a PDF of Winter events for high school students

MyCast Cycle 3: Your Story, Your Voice, Your Podcast*

Saturdays: 3/5 and 3/12 from 1-5 PM

(must be able to attend at least one of the two classes)mycast_web_square

The radio show is making a comeback with the increasing popularity of podcasts like Serial, Radiolab, and Welcome to Night Vale. Now it’s your turn. Whether you want to interview someone, write and record an opinion piece, discuss your favorite movie with a friend, or perform an original one-act play with a group, MyCast gives you the opportunity to voice what matters to you.

In MyCast, you will write, edit, and record a podcast, and then share it with the world. Registration required.

Perform in the Mill Valley Library’s Teen Poetry Slam!slam

Performance: Fri 3/4, 7 PM

Do you have a love of the spoken word? Do you want to participate in one of Mill Valley’s most celebrated evenings? Register to compete in the Library’s 5th annual Teen Slam Poetry Competition! Go to the Library’s website to find out how to be a part of this unforgettable evening! Check out the video from the 2015 Slam Competition here.

First Thursday: College Fit

Thurs. 4/7, 7 PM

sellecting-a-collegeHow do you find the right college for you? More than rankings, rhetoric or emotion, “fit” is the greatest determinant of college success, both in getting into college and completing your degree. Educational consultant Lori Byer will lead an interactive discussion to help you figure out which colleges might be right for you, exploring the elements that really matter (beyond just size, weather, and location). Registration recommended.

Creative Writing Workshops

Wednesday nights, 7-8:30 PMcrwrheader

There’s so much more to writing than simply regurgitating facts or ideas for an essay. Creative writing allows us to sharpen our critical thinking skills while giving our imagination free reign. Practice this craft in a relaxed, informal environment at these weekly creative writing workshops. No registration required.

Registration and more information about all events at Contact Katie for more information at or call (415) 389-4292 x 4727.


*This project is supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.

Thanks to the Library Foundation & Friends for their generous support of Library programs.

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Review of Curtis Sittenfeld’s “Prep”

by Ellie Nelson

Teenage-audience directed books sometimes have an atmosphere which doesn’t feel genuine, prepprobably because most of them follow a simple plot-line of boy meets girl. As cliche as it is, this theme is not unrealistic, yet it seems that authors struggle to make their stories feel real. Part of this is probably because their readers can relate a little too well to the characters’ experiences, and it is because of this common struggle that I was surprised at how blatantly honest Curtis Sittenfeld illustrated the life of Lee Fiora in Prep.

Lee isn’t exactly a likable character. She did and thought things that I was fully unsupportive of and at times I despised her for it. The fact that I kept reading, despite my lack of sympathy for Lee, was because she reminded me of things in myself and in other people that I don’t acknowledge regularly. She reminded me of how many mistakes people make, how much people despise even themselves at times, and how none of this needs to be dramatized by a catastrophic plot but simply by revealing the true nature of how people assess their own lives.

The book also offered an alternative perspective to the first person teenage girl through the view of an adult Lee Fiora. More more depth and meaning was added to what might have been considered insignificant teenage feelings. I was able to see how these decisions shaped her as a person, not just as a fictional character whose story was being told in a linear timeline.

This isn’t an easy book to read, it’s long and it certainly isn’t suspenseful or a page turner, but if you are looking for a book with insight and relateable themes that aren’t romanticized, I would highly suggest this one.

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First Thursday: FanPop! (pictures)

Thanks to everyone who came out for our FanPop! Night! Check out some of the great things that we made! FandJ1 fanpopgroup1 fanpopgroup2 inchoate snoop





Dr. Who? Harry Potter? Supernatural? (Or maybe you just really like decorating things). Get down with your Fan person self at this Fanpop night!

We will have blank totes, socks (hey, you wanted ’em), backpacks, and other items for you to decorate for your next concert, Comic-Con, holiday gifts, or just to add to your collection. Get crazy with fabric pens, glitter and take care of your holiday gifts all at the same time!

For your entertainment, Katie will also read a selection of the worst fan-fiction the internet has to offer. Food and beverages provided!

For high school students only.

Registration strongly recommended. Click here to register.


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