First Berkeley Youth Poet Laureate Program

Contact: Tess Mayer
Director of Library Services
Berkeley Public Library
(510) 981-6100

Berkeley Public Library Launches First Youth Poet Laureate Program
Applications Accepted July 1 – August 5

Berkeley, California (June 28, 2023) – Teens, join the first ever Berkeley Youth Poet Laureate program to elevate and amplify Berkeley teen voices through poetry. Whatever your poetry style is, join the cohort!

Everyone who applies will be invited to participate in ongoing writing workshops in partnership with Berkeley High School, the City of Berkeley, and other local organizations throughout the Summer and Fall of 2023.

In the late Fall, a panel of community leaders with expertise in creative writing and poetry will review applications and the work created by program participants and a Poet Laureate and a Vice Poet Laureate will be announced at a celebration in January 2024. 

Throughout 2024, the chosen Laureate and Vice Laureate will perform at public events and have the opportunity to lead a community art project. Also, the Laureate will be eligible to represent Berkeley in the National Youth Poet Laureate competition.

“All our youth poets will get a chance to explore, write, and learn together as they develop their civic voices and present poems to be considered for the 2024 Berkeley Youth Poet Laureate Role,” says Robyn Brown, teen librarian, with excitement.

Poets should apply between July 1-September 15 at or a paper application can be obtained at any of the five Berkeley Public Library locations.

Applicants must be 13-18 years old as of January 1, 2024. Additionally, they must live in or go to school in Berkeley for the calendar year of 2024 and not be enrolled in college full-time.

“The City of Berkeley is known for outspoken, artistic, and socially conscious residents, and we look forward to highlighting the teens that embody that spirit,” notes Kirsten Mandalay, teen librarian.

The Berkeley Public Library champions lifelong learning and community connections, both of which play big roles in this program. The goal for this program is to encourage teens to engage with their community in a meaningful way, through literature and the arts.

The program is created in partnership with Urban Word and is the first of its kind in Berkeley.

For questions regarding this program, email

For questions about additional Library events, services, hours and locations, please call (510) 981-6100 or visit