In a hyper-local and community-oriented way, the annual Saint Paul Almanac book is a people’s meeting space for sharing the stories and poems of our city. The Almanac celebrates and documents the city’s history and diversity; its creative forces; its residents’ memories and current experiences; and the ever-changing urban landscape. Through reading each other’s stories and poems we learn from and build new connections with each other.
In 2013, we engaged 5,000 readers, 2,000 high school students, 1,200 audience members, 475 community writers, 75 civic groups and businesses, and 25 community editors.
Before the Saint Paul Almanac, no publication existed that offered the opportunity for so many residents and writers to contribute their voices each year to a publication and to have that writing be read by so many Saint Paulites through our large local distribution and sales channels. This year, over forty local bookstores, coffee shops, gift shops, and grocery stores sell the Saint Paul Almanac. We sold over 2,000 2014 Saint Paul Almanac books.
We deliberately combine the calendar aspects of an almanac with literary stories to encourage readers to use their books and read the stories and poems throughout the year. We see it as a way to bring good writing into the daily life of the community—like putting poems on buses.
Saint Paul is recognized as one of the most literate cities in the country, and our target population is the 287,000 residents of the City of Saint Paul and Saint Paul visitors. We are deliberately City of Saint Paul–centric. And we specifically focus on engaging Saint Paul youth by encouraging students to be community editors.