The Westport Library is a place to do many things beyond reading: Hear book talks and concerts. Work in the MakerSpace. Check out DVDs. Get coffee.
Add to the list: Learn to write.
WestportWrites is a year-long program. Monthly mini-conferences and workshops all lead to a writers’ conference next fall.
Rachel Basch (“The Listener,” “The Passion of Reverend Nash”), literary agent Dawn Frederick and a panel from Westport writers’ groups kicked things off earlier this month.
This Monday (October 16, 6 p.m.), Patrick McCord talks about the brain’s role in the creative process. Future topics include the feminist young adult voice, screenwriting, memoirs and more.
As part of WestportWrites, the library is partnering with Staples High School’s English department. Jessica Bruder (“Nomadland,” “Burning Book” spoke to 225 students there, prior to her library appearance).
Plans are underway to collaborate on next fall’s conference. Teachers are excited about opportunities for talented writers — and those who might be turned on to an activity they never considered before.
But any library can sponsor workshops. The Westport Library is taking writing a giant step further.
A generous anonymous donor helped them buy a new Espresso machine — and it has nothing to do with coffee.
This Espresso is an on-demand book publisher. Authors provide PDFs for the text and cover (the library has templates). Espresso prints in black-and-white or color. It adds a soft cover, and trims the pages to different sizes.
In other words, it allows authors to self-publish.
You’re not going to get Jane Green-size press runs. But it’s perfect for printing small numbers of books. You can also prototype a larger run — avoiding costly mistakes with pagination, or putting the Foreward at the end (true story).
Westport Library manager of experiential learning Alex Giannini, and program and events specialist Cody Daigle-Orlans, are enthusiastic about their new tool. They offer short consultations on it with interested authors (email email@example.com for more information).
There’s also a Westport Library in-house graphic designer to help with the cover (for a fee).
If the Espresso machine sounds like something that belongs in the MakerSpace — now moved to the balcony area during the library’s Transformation Project — it does.
In fact, Giannini says, the goal is to make next October’s writer’s conference and book fair be at the same level as Westport’s April Maker Faire.