BISD Students Author Futures Through New Library Program

BRYAN -- Bryan Independent School District students are turning dreams into realities through a new program at the Clara B. Mounce Public Library in Bryan, Texas.

Through a pilot program, seven students from the Bryan Independent School District wrote, illustrated and published their original literary works.

"Scribes & Sketchers began as a summer program for teens who were interested in art and writing," said Samantha Matush, Youth Services Librarian at the Clara B. Mounce Library.

Students in the program met weekly throughout the summer break to listen to local speakers and discuss character development, publishing contracts and working as a professional writer and artist.

"Throughout the summer, local authors and artists visited with the students, sharing their experiences and specialties. We are blessed to have a lot of talent in the Bryan-College Station area," said Matush. "We were fortunate to have local professionals visit the group throughout the summer, sharing their experience and expertise."

Matush was inspired to bring a Scribes & Sketchers program to Bryan-College Station after experiencing a similar program while teaching junior high school Reading in Dallas, Texas and volunteering at a local library. Once at the Clara B. Mounce Public Library, Matush piloted the program. It's been a success, Matush said, and a learning process. Through grants, she hopes to grow the group - and publish more books - in the next year.

"Our writing group became a family," said Joshua Sweed, a Bryan High School student. "I hope to go to Blinn College and onto a writing program at University of Houston. Now, I have a book that I have written and is published - it's a great starting point."

In total, nine students published books through the program - seven representing BISD and two representing the homeschool community. Novel length and topics range widely, but each is an original work. Since the rise of self-publishing and E-books, becoming a published author is now possible for many writers who would otherwise have difficulty, such as students, said Matush.

"Ninety five percent of the writing was done at home," said Sweed. "But every week we would meet at the library and refine our work. We paired up and proofread each other's works. The group allowed for a lot of collaboration."

Student works were published through Virtual Bookworm Publishing.

"Virtual Bookworm Publishing owner Bobby Bernshausen was a tremendous help to the program," said Matush. "Without him and his generous donations of time and work, it would not have happened."

Anthologies of the Scribes & Sketchers stories can be checked out at the Clara B. Mounce Public Library. For more information on the program, contact Samantha Matush at 979.209.5615 or