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All locations are open today from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.


All locations are open today from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.


All locations are open today from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.


All locations are open today from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.


All locations are open today from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


All locations are open today from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


All locations are closed today.


Frequently Asked Questions

When were the Dorothy Shoemaker Literary Awards launched? 
The Awards began in 1967 as a Centennial project of the Kitchener Public Library and are named for Miss Dorothy Shoemaker, the former Chief Librarian, who was an ardent supporter of aspiring writers throughout her career. 
Is there any age restriction? 
Yes. Writers must be between 16 and 25 years of age as of December 31, 2024.   
Is there any geographical restriction? 
Yes, this contest is open to residents of the Region of Waterloo.  

What if I am a student away at school? 
If you still reside at home when not in school, and have proof of a local address, post-secondary students are eligible.  
*proof of address may be requested by library before awarding prize money. 
Are my entries judged anonymously? 
Yes, your submission is judged by its excellence, not your past achievements, current fame, or relationship to anyone involved with the contest. 

Can family of KPL employees or current staff enter? 
Yes, because the contest is blind-judged current staff or their family members are welcome to enter. 

How many entries may I enter? 
One prose entry per person. Entries are accepted in date order. If more than one entry is submitted, the first submission will be the one considered. 

Who is considered a professional writer? 
For the purpose of this contest, a professional writer is anyone who derives more than 50% of their income from writing.  

May I submit a paper copy? 
No, online submissions only. 

How should I submit entries with complex formatting (e.g., italics, centered text)? 
By creating a PDF document, your formatting should be maintained. 

May I include illustrations or photos with my entry? 

May I enter a submission written by someone who has died?  
No. Authors of all submissions must be living.  

I am now 26+ years old, may I submit a piece that I wrote when I was younger?   
No, submissions are only for writers who fall within the current age limitations. 

May I submit my entry simultaneously to you and to other contests and publishers? 

Will I know if my piece has been disqualified? 
No, the library will not follow up. It is on the applicant to review the rules and guidelines and ensure they are meeting the parameters of the contest before submitting their piece. Library administrators may contact a writer who has been disqualified due to plagiarism. 

May I submit a work that has been published elsewhere or won an award? 
Yes, all such work is acceptable, provided you own the online publication rights. Work that has been entered in previous Dorothy Shoemaker Contests is also acceptable, provided you did not win a cash prize.  

What are the submission guidelines? 
Please see Rules & Guidelines  

Will I keep the copyright to my work? 
Yes. You keep the copyright to your submission. If your entry wins any cash prize or honourable mention, you agree to give both the Kitchener Public Library and the Dorothy Shoemaker Literary Awards, a nonexclusive licence to publish your workonline. You retain all other rights. You are free, for example, to publish your work in print or online elsewhere, and to enter it into other contests, whether or not you win a prize in this contest. 
Do you forward any contestant information to third parties? 
No, The Kitchener Public Library does not release contest entrant information to third parties. Information is used only to the extent necessary to contact you in relation to this contest.  

Collection of information for the Dorothy Shoemaker Literary Awards is subject to the provisions of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Privacy Act. The Library will not divulge this information to outside parties unless required to do so by law. 

How can I find out more? 
Please email the literary contest administrator.