Home Williamstown News ‘An amazing turnout’

‘An amazing turnout’

Monroe library book fest a chance to browse books and meet authors

Albert J. Countryman Jr./The Sun
Author Kaytalin Platt (right) displays one of her three fantasy books, “The Living God,” in the company of fan Kathy Sullivan during the Monroe library’s book fest.

It was a special day for readers at the Monroe library in Williamstown on April 27.

Cars came in and out all day long, filling two available parking lots, and patrons got the chance to meet writers at booths set up in the library’s front parking lot on Marsha Avevue, behind the Amish Farmer’s Market on the Black Horse Pike.

The library’s second annual Meet the Author book festival was dubbed a success, and avid readers could also go inside for the Friends of the Library’s semi-annual used book sale featuring $1 hardbacks, 50-cent paperbacks and a free lunch.

“I was blown away with the number of people who showed up today,” said library director Samantha Snyder. “At one point, I walked by the computer with our security cameras on it and saw the back parking lot was full, and I was absolutely stunned.

“We have a lot of parking here,” she explained, “as well as a lot of patrons who walk here. I have never seen that lot so full. It was an amazing turnout,” she added, noting that the first time she organized the event about 50 people and 21 writers turned out.

“This is my second year doing this, so it was less work this time around,” noted Snyder, who praised the efforts of her staff and the Friends of the Library volunteers for their hard work in advace of the festival.

The authors started setting up their displays at 8 a.m., with Snyder busily directing vehicles to their spots for unloading. Book genres ranged from fantasy, adventure, magic, baseball, romance, religion, history and children’s books.

One colorful booth – complete with balloons, posters, music and family friends celebrating their favorite author – belonged to Khalil Bailey and the new book, “Celestia: Kingdom of Magic – A Brother’s Deception.”

Jean Davis, a devout Christian, said her book “God Hears Your Cry” discusses how even when grief and tragedy are overwhelming, faith can help pull people through the toughest times. Celebrating the publication of his first children’s book, “Lily’s Wondrous World,” was Mark Polett, who eagerly talked to patrons browsing the author booths.

With the help of her friends, Nora Weirich set up a display for her contemporary romance novel, “Cliff House,” that featured free snacks. Talking baseball was author David Krell, who has written a biography of Roy White – a New York Yankees’ star – and also wrote “Do You Believe in Magic” and “Our Bums.”

Getting a lot of attention was young author Kaytalin Platt, who offered the three fantasy books she wrote in her Equitas Series: “The Living God,” “The Ever War” and “The Blood Key.”

“This is my first time at this event; I’m looking forward to it,” noted Platt, a graphic designer for her publisher, Duskbound Books, who is currently working on her next book, “Of Silver and Sin.” She was joined in her booth by her biggest fan, Kathy Sullivan.

This Williamstown Sun reporter also had a table displaying his two books, “The Streets of Derry,” about families living in war-torn Northern Ireland during the 1980s, and “Letters to Mary,” his tribute to a sister who died from leukemia in 1997.

Throughout the day, patrons came in an out. Inside, they could buy used books and get a free hot dog provided by The Givers Place Church.

“The Friends of the Monroe Township Library pretty much exclusively run that show,” Snyder explained. “They are a charity, nonprofit group of volunteers that come in the first Monday of each month at 2:30 p.m. to meet and discuss their fundraisers.”

The Friends of the Library will host book sales each spring and fall, then make a donation, to the library, Snyder said.

“This year it was $353,” she added. “So they donate their time, food, and make a monetary donation at the end of the day – they are really the best.”

The Friends’ donations pay for children’s summer reading programs – such as Paint Nights with Gina Martucci and Lizard Guys – and craft materials. The funds also support the museum pass program and library chair yoga sessions, hosted by Relax Mind and Body, a Williamstown studio.

The group also has mini-events during the year including the Christmas Gift Wrap, where the volunteers join members of the Williamstown Sunrise Rotary to wrap presents for struggling families during the club’s annual “Pictures with Santa” event.

Overall, the Meet the Author Book Festival was an exciting day for the authors, the patrons who enjoy literature and the Friends of the Library. For more information about upcoming spring and summer programs, go to monroetpl.org.

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