Southeastern librarian wins ALA Award for creative website for young writers, artists

Contact: Rene Abadie
Date: June 4, 2012 Paul Kelsey

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      HAMMOND – A Southeastern Louisiana University staff librarian will be awarded the American Library Association's 2012 Scholastic Library Award for his efforts to synergize the writing and illustrating talents of young people.

     Paul Kelsey, who serves as head of acquisitions at Southeastern's Sims Memorial Library, will be recognized at the organization's annual meeting in June for his creation of the online magazine "Launch Pad: Where Young Authors and Illustrators Take Off." The website matches the skills of young authors, poets and illustrators between the ages of 6 and 14 and publishes the best submissions on the Internet.

     In announcing the award, the ALA said, "Kelsey is an outstanding leader in the field of librarianship and children's and young adult literature. The website allows young people to publish their creative work and provides dynamic collaborative opportunities, as young writers and illustrators work together to create amazingly inventive online publications. His imaginative vision and passion for creativity benefit young people around the world."

     Launch Pad can be seen at

     The award includes a citation and $1,000 prize donated by Scholastic Library Publishing, a firm dedicated to encouraging reading and the use of educational technology to encourage a love of reading among young people.

     A resident of Baton Rouge, Kelsey developed Launch Pad following Hurricane Katrina when his daughter was seeking to publish an essay she had written. "How I Met Elizabeth" told the story of how his daughter, Clare,made a new friend who transferred to her Baton Rouge school from the New Orleans area. The essay was later published in Northwestern State University's Louisiana English Journal.

     "I've had a longstanding interest in children's literature and saw the need for a publishing medium like this," said Kelsey, who has served as the site's editor-in-chief since its founding in 2007.

     He gets an average 20 to 40 submissions a monthfrom all over the nation and at least six other countries. He reviews the submissions and coordinates the links between writers and illustrators. The finished products are published on the site and made available through high quality PDFs.

     "I try to be fairly selective and will only publish the better quality work," said Kelsey, who has worked as a children's librarian in California. "The best part is seeing the final published piece. Some of the work is amazing in its creativity and artistic value. I believe some of these young authors and illustrators will one day be successful professionals in their fields."

     In making the announcement, Georgie Donovan, Scholastics Publishing's committee chair, said: "As someone who has helped young authors publish their works online, we felt that Paul Kelsey was well deserving of this award and demonstrated a strong connection with the same mission that Scholastic has to encourage the intellectual and personal growth of all children, beginning with literacy."

     Kelsey is a graduate of Colorado College and earned his master's in library information science from the University of Texas. Prior to joining Southeastern, he worked at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library and at LSU.

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