Library--Alviso Branch

Virtual Volunteering - Teen Writer for Short Edition

Position Overview:

Teen Short Edition Writers play an important role in encouraging San José library users of all ages to discover new stories and, through them, new experiences and understanding. Your main goal is to build our collection of poems, short stories, and essays written by local authors for our Short Edition dispensers.

Poem/Short Story/Essay Guidelines:

Your story should be:

  • your own, original work
  • previously unpublished (either in print or online)
  • no more than 8000 characters long (including spaces)
  • suitable for general and diverse audiences. We will not accept submissions with explicit language, mature content, or words that are offensive to a group's race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender, national origin, or disability.
  • a complete work on its own (not one part of a longer narrative).
  • proofread for spelling and grammatical errors.

Volunteer responsibilities:

  • Sign up for the Teen Writer for Short Edition position in your MyImpact account (look under Virtual Volunteering).
  • Write an original piece of work that is no more than 8000 characters long (see guidelines above).
  • Communicate with your Teens Reach librarian if you have questions about writing your piece of work or about the submission process.
  • Email your piece of work to your Teens Reach librarian for review (please include # of characters).
  • After your work has been approved for submission, use the Short Edition link on the SJPL website to submit your story. (You will need to create a Short Edition account first.)
  • Email your Teens Reach librarian a screenshot of the acknowledgment message you received (either on the screen or in an email from Short Edition) when you submitted your work. Please include the title of your work and the name you used to submit it.

Volunteer hours:

After your Teens Reach librarian has confirmed your work's submission, we will log your volunteer hours using the Teen Writer for Short Edition activity in your MyImpact account.

  • 1-minute poem, essay, or short story (fewer than 2600 characters) = 2 volunteer hours
  • 3-minute poem, essay, or short story (2600-4799 characters) = 3 volunteer hours
  • 5-minute poem, essay, or short story (4800-8000 characters) = 5 volunteer hours You may write a maximum of 5 poems, essays, or short stories per calendar quarter for volunteer credit.'
  • Officers will read all entries; their posting decision is final. Neither the officers nor San Jose Public Library staff will enter into any correspondence.

Support Available:

Assistance with story guidelines and how submit to Short Edition. Unfortunately, we will not have the time to help you edit.


Accepted SJPL teen volunteers, age 13-17

Expected Commitment:

You can write up to 5 essays, poems, or short stories per quarter.

Quarter Breakdown in any given year





How to Sign Up:

There is no need to sign up for this activity, so no need to respond that you will be doing this. You can just email your piece of work when it is done.

Qualifications Required

  • Age Must be at least 13+