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April 13, 2015

Authors Unlimited - Author Events, Behind the Scenes

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There are a lot of teen author festivals out there, but what does it take to make one happen? Librarian Michael Buono knows a lot about this, being on the Board and running the social media and website for Authors Unlimited, a YA festival that has taken place at St. Joseph's College in Patchogue, Long Island, for four years!

Below, he tells Teenreads a bit about what it takes to plan out one these events (and believe me, it's more than a little coffee).


Five years ago, the first Authors Unlimited was organized so that middle and high school readers in Suffolk County could have an event that catered to their interests, for free. The event was modeled on the Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival in Rochester, New York.  Since then teen lit festivals have popped up around the country.

The moment Authors Unlimited is over, the Youth Services department at the Suffolk Cooperative Library System begins planning the next one. They set up initial planning meetings, and they secure the location for the next year. St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue has been our home for all five years.

The closer to the event we come, the more coffee we consume.

At the same time, we begin working on the two most important parts of the event: the authors and the teens. Lisa and Derek of Youth Services go to publisher events all year long to help the librarians in Suffolk County stay aware of new teen literature. They meet people in the industry and they scope out authors to bring to Authors Unlimited. At the same time, libraries around Suffolk put out a suggestion box so teens can suggest authors.

In September, the administration begins recruiting library employees in Suffolk County to volunteer on the day of the event to run different parts of it; other than Lisa and Derek, we are all volunteers. We meet once a month from September to April to iron out details like Author Hospitality, Teen Volunteers and Registration. The closer to the event we come, the more coffee we consume. 


Live in the area and want to attend Authors Unlimited? Here are the detailis!

Date: Saturday, April 25th 2015

Time: 10:00 AM

LocationSt. Joseph’s College in Patchogue 

Authors: Matt Blackstone, Selene Castrovilla, Henry Clark, Elizabeth KiemGeorge O’ConnorGae Polisner,Jason Reynolds and Adam Silvera.

Details: The day will start with a short opening ceremony which will include a panel of all the authors. They will answer questions submitted by our guests before they run small group sessions for the public.The small group sessions will provide the authors and the public access to one another. The authors will be able to talk about their work. The guests will be able to ask the authors questions and discuss their work with them.

Come meet some great authors, make new friends and enjoy a day immersed in books. If we are too far from you, then take a look around. There are teen literature festivals around the country, or there might be a librarian willing to start one.


Michael Buono is a Librarian, comic reader and member of the Authors Unlimited board. He is in charge of the website and social media. You can tweet him @michaelbuono or the event staff @authorsunlim.