Recognizing that many local teenagers had interesting talents but no place to showcase them, the Grandview Heights Public Library staff organized a Teen Open Mic Night last fall.Staff members weren't sure what to expect, said children's librarian Chelsea Weissman.

Recognizing that many local teenagers had interesting talents but no place to showcase them, the Grandview Heights Public Library staff organized a Teen Open Mic Night last fall.Staff members weren't sure what to expect, said children's librarian Chelsea Weissman.

"We were exploring how it would go," she said.

The event was so successful, it earned a regular spot on the library calendar. On the first Wednesday of every month, any student in seventh through 12th grade can come and perform for their peers in the library's teen area.

Students sing, play instruments, read poetry and tell jokes, Weissman said. The library purchased a karaoke machine to provide background music for vocalists who wish to use it. Weissman also will accompany performers on her keyboard.

"I've been surprised at how popular it's been," she said. "They've been really well-attended."

The event is casual. Performers do not have to register. Audience members can decide at the last minute if they want to participate. The kids seem to respond to the laid-back approach, Weissman said.

"It's kind of a coffeehouse atmosphere - without coffee," she said. "We do usually try to have some kind of treat."

The teens appreciate the creative outlet, Weissman said. Participants and audience members are respectful of one another, she added.

"Everybody's really supportive. Everyone claps for everyone," she said. "It's a very positive environment."

-Melissa Kossler Dutton