BRADENTON -- Manatee County children will be the beneficiaries of nearly $215,000 raised at the Manatee Library Foundation's Bookends event with John Grisham and Stephen King.
Foundation board members voted to contribute $161,000 to the library to hire a full-time literacy coordinator for 2016 and 2017. The money also will help provide services and supplies for a two-year literacy program delivered by the Manatee County Public Library system. Another $65,000 will be needed beyond the Grisham-King proceeds to fully fund this effort.
The lifelong learning literacy program is designed to build on other community-wide literacy efforts,
Library Services Manager Ava Ehde said.
"This is a two-year literacy enhancement effort, with the goal of reaching our youngest readers and their families in all areas of the community, especially the underserved is successful," Jane Plitt, outgoing president of the foundation, said in a statement. "If it is successful, we hope the county will prioritize the program and extend it into future. We are proud the Library Foundation has been the financial catalyst for filling such a community need and we are grateful to this generous community for responding."
The partnership is helping the public access free resource and state of the art facilities, said Cheri Coryea, Manatee County neighborhood services director.
"We are forever grateful that so many people love their libraries enough to support programs for the entire community," she said.
The goal of the Jan. 19 event with the two authors was to raise $175,000.
"Our original goal for the Bookends event was $175,000, and we bested that goal by about $45,000, but we still need more money for this project," Plitt said. "We hope this community will continue to rally together to improve our county's literacy."
Donations to help the Lifelong Learner program can be made directly through manateelibraryfoundation.org or by sending contributions to the Library Foundation Inc., 1301 Barcarrota Blvd. W, Bradenton, FL 34205.
Bookends is now available for on-demand viewing on the Manatee Educational Television YouTube page here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=829vaz2CxiI
For information on the Manatee Library Foundation, visit manateelibraryfoundation.org
For information on Manatee County Public Library system, visit mymanatee.org/library and follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/mcpls
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.