2018 Photo Contest Winners Announced

To celebrate this year’s Summer Reading theme, “Libraries Rock,” we invited teens to capture images of how music inspires their lives. DBRL was grateful to receive nearly 20 submissions from young photographers throughout our service area of Boone and Callaway counties.

Our winners are Ayla Kian Mehr, Grace Whitaker and Jayla Kemp. Check out their photos below and the stories that inspired their submissions. Each will receive a gift card to Barnes & Noble.

Coming up this fall we have many exciting programs planned for young adults including a stop-motion animation challenge, mock Newbery book club, pumpkin art contest, and more awesome escape rooms! Stay informed about these events by subscribing to our our email newsletter.


First Place: “Life: A Perfect Melody” by Ayla Kian Mehr

“I was inspired to take this photo based on the feeling I get from listening, playing and creating music. I feel free. I feel happy. I feel light. I feel as if I’m flying. Music inspires me to be optimistic on a day-to-day basis, it helps me remain happy, and calm. Music is my life, and it’s a perfect melody.”

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Second Place: “Music is Freedom” by Grace Whitaker

“I love music. I sing and play a lot of different instruments (piano, guitar, bass, clarinet, flute), but guitar is the instrument that first got me hooked. It’s such a unique feeling being able to make such beautiful sounds, very different than just listening. Whatever you’re feeling can be expressed by notes and rhythms, sometimes better than words can. It’s a beautiful thing that music knows no language barrier and it’s something that everyone can connect with – it’s not constrained by any borders. In this picture I tried to capture the feeling of total bliss and freedom that I get when playing.”

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Third Place: “Distraction” by Jayla Kemp

“I was inspired to take this picture because I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when I was six days old, a chronic illness that affects my organs and my digestive system. I do these treatments two to four times a day. It is a very painful and long process. During my treatments, I have to wear a vest that shakes me the entire time. Because I’m shaking, there’s not much I can do but listen to music. For many people, I think music heals them. The same goes for me. When I’m down and sad about being different, music makes me feel better and distracts me from my illness and the things I have to do to keep my health in check everyday. I hope you can see that through this self-portrait.”

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