The Darien Library announces its third-annual teen writing competition, an event that encourages and inspires local youth writers.

The competition opens on Sunday, Jan. 1 at which point the library will begin accepting electronic submissions in the categories of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Students in grades seven through 12 can submit their work via email to teenstaff@darienlibrary.org.

Entries will be divided between the three format categories and into two grade categories: seventh through ninth; and 10th through 12th. The judges will choose a first-place winner, second-place winner and recipients of honorable mention in each category and age group. First-place winners will each receive $100 and second-place winners will receive $25. In addition, all entries will be collected in a printed volume that will be available free to the public.

The contest runs through Tuesday, Feb. 28; an awards ceremony will be held on Saturday March 31, during which judges will announce the winners. All contest entrants and their families and friends are invited to the awards ceremony.

Midterm hours

As the New Year approaches, so do midterms for Darien High School students. In an effort to help students maximize their studying time, the Darien Library will offer extended hours the week of midterms, offering Blue Wave scholars access to the library for an additional 11.5 hours.

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Fact box

The entire library will remain open until 10:30 p.m. each day from Sunday, Jan. 15 through Thursday, Jan. 19. The library has previously offered extended hours for test takers, including during Darien High School's final week in June 2011, with much success.