Stephanie Katz | Movers & Shakers 2020–Community Builders

Thanks to Stephanie Katz, what started as a zero-dollar budget proposal is now an international arts magazine with 20 online issues—including annual teen issues—and a print anthology. Katz, assistant supervisor of technical services at Manatee County Public Library System (MCPLS), founded 805 Lit + Art, or simply 805, in 2015 and has since made a name for herself as a grassroots library-based publisher. 805 has published 188 writers and 135 artists from Florida and beyond, about ten percent of whom are international.

Sidsel Bech-Petersen

CURRENT POSITION

Assistant Supervisor of Technical Services, Manatee County Public Library System, Bradenton, FL

DEGREE

MLIS, University of South Florida, 2011

AWARDS

Florida Library Association Innovation Award, 2018, for 805 Lit + Art

AUTHOR

Libraries Publish: How to Start a Magazine, Small Press, Blog, and More (Libraries Unlimited, August 2020)

Photo by Jessica Buehler, 864 Creative

 

Passion Project

Thanks to Stephanie Katz, what started as a zero-dollar budget proposal is now an international arts magazine with 20 online issues—including annual teen issues—and a print anthology. Katz, assistant supervisor of technical services at Manatee County Public Library System (MCPLS), founded 805 Lit + Art, or simply 805, in 2015 and has since made a name for herself as a grassroots library-based publisher. 805 has published 188 writers and 135 artists from Florida and beyond, about ten percent of whom are international.

Katz says she was motivated to start a literary journal when she realized she missed writing short stories and poetry, as she had when she was earning her BA. "I thought about…how unapproachable literary journals by big universities seemed to me as an unpublished writer. I wished [those] publishers felt welcoming and encouraging like libraries do, and I realized that publishing a literary journal would fit in perfectly with the mission of my library."

Katz and 805 received immediate attention in 2016 from nonprofit literary organization Poets & Writers as "One of the Nine New Lit Mags You Need to Read." Nominator Jyna Johnson, MCPLS programming coordinator, points out that Katz has "created internship and readership positions for aspiring editors who hope to work in publishing." Additionally, MCPLS has had over 20 supporting programs, including receptions, readings, writing workshops, and outreach events, says Katz, expanding 805’s impact. Katz also submits 805’s writers for a dozen annual literary prizes. Besides a forthcoming book (see box), which gives other libraries guidance on how to start their own publishing endeavors, Katz is in the process of forming LiteraryLibraries.org, a community for non-academic library presses, with free resources and a space for them to support each other.

Katz still relishes the blending of creativity and expression into her own work and her ability to give unpublished writers a chance. "Whenever I send out an acceptance letter…I feel like a fairy godmother who granted them the debut publication they’ve been hoping for," Katz says. 

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