Make Your Mark with BPL’s Magic City Stories

May 25, 2021

by rebecca stewart

Art comes in many forms and mediums, it can present itself through words on pages, in stanzas, through a photograph, a mural, a sketch, and so very many other ways. The sharing of these gifts has the power to uniquely connect us. Sharing our creations is gifting pieces of ourselves with whomever is willing to look or listen. Billings Public Library’s mission statement is to connect the community so it can grow together, discover the love of reading, the joy of learning, and the sharing of creative expression. It is from these core values that the Magic City Stories sketchbook project was borne.

While reading about The Sketchbook Project, Information Services Librarian, Jennifer W, thought this would be a great project to try at Billings Public Library – particularly for teens and found an excellent sounding board in Teen Librarian, Vanessa. Recognizing that people are pretty burned out from so much of our interactions taking place digitally during this last year, she felt “that a physical sketchbook to take and fill in, and then possibly add to our library collection for others to view as they would a book, seemed ideal.” With summer reading programs fast approaching, the BPL team knew they needed to get the pages turning on what would become Magic City Stories.

The summer will be the test run for the Magic City Stories sketchbook project, but Jennifer hopes it will continue into the fall and beyond. So, how to get involved/what does it entail? 


A sneak peek inside the pages! | photo courtesy of Billings Public Library

  • Starting June 1, library borrowers may check out a sketchbook for one week from the 2nd Floor Help Desk.
  • Currently 20 sketchbooks are available for checkout (with the potential for more to be added into rotation).
  • Detailed instructions are included in the sketchbook’s pouch – along with a few drawing and writing tools.
  • While in your possession, borrowers can fill the sketchbook pages with stories, sketches, poetry, memories, moments, coloring, collages, or whatever ideas they wish to express and share in the medium of their choice. **(Participants are asked to keep the content family-friendly)**
  • Creative prompts are included with the sketchbook, should inspiration need nudging. (Some of the prompts include: What is one of your personal mantras and why? What is your advice to your middle school self? What literary character would you want to go on an adventure with?)
  • At the end of your loan period, return the sketchbook to the 2nd Floor Help Desk where you can check out another! 

Once each book is full, they will be digitized and added to Billings Public Library’s collection.

This summer take a chance at connecting with other creators in our community – help tell our Magic City Stories

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