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Activities set for Southwest Florida Reading Festival

By Staff | Jan 21, 2021

The 22nd annual Southwest Florida Reading Festival this March will be a month-long, fully virtual celebration of the power of reading brought to the community by the Lee County Library System.

Nearly 30 acclaimed authors will provide nightly programming March 1-12. Other highlights include the opportunity to video chat with headlining and local authors during the festival’s live booth hours on 1-3 p.m. Saturday, March 6, and Saturday, March 13. Grab-and-go crafts, a reading program with festival bingo and online S.T.E.A.M. contests featuring Lego builds, art and creativity challenges are also part of the fun.

“Our library system is pleased to once again provide our signature event for the community,” said Mindi Simon, library director. “The online format allows us to extend the festival’s length and scope.”

Patrons can log on to EventHub beginning Feb. 22 for a preview of the festival. Author presentations will broadcast weekday evenings March 1-5 and March 8-12, with youth and teen authors at 6 p.m. and adult authors at 7 p.m.

Each interview is followed by an interactive, live meet and greet to interact with authors and ask questions via video or text chat. Additional opportunities to chat with authors will be offered during the Saturday live booth sessions at 1 p.m. After live events conclude on March 13, festival attendees will be able to watch recorded content on-demand through March 31.

Participants are encouraged to sign up for the online reading and activity challenge or complete the paper-based reading bingo for chances to win prizes and book baskets with festival author book titles. The deadline to log reading and activities is March 31.

S.T.E.A.M. contest prizes include numerous Lego sets, as well as arts and crafts supplies, with contest entries accepted through March 14. Online public voting will take place March 15-31. The eligible entries with the most votes will win the prizes for each category.

The Library System’s commitment to reading continues with providing each participating child and teen with a new, free book. This year, the free books will be distributed in age-appropriate grab-and-go craft bags, available while supplies last at the 13 Lee County Library System branches starting Feb. 22. Adults will receive a book in their craft kits as well, which will incorporate various patterns to become part of a folded book art craft.

The lineup of award-winning authors scheduled to participate in the festival includes adult authors Jennifer Chiaverini, Gregg Hurwitz, Jayne Ann Krentz and Kyle Mills, as well as youth and teen authors J.C. Cervantes, Greg Pizzoli, Julie Berry and Ryan La Sala. The complete list of authors can be found at www.ReadFest.org.

The Southwest Florida Reading Festival is free and community-supported through donations, sponsorships and grants.

To help ensure the continuation of this free community event, visit www.ReadFest.org to make a secure online donation. Information is available at 239-533-4832. 

 About the Southwest Florida Reading Festival 

The Southwest Florida Reading Festival is a family-friendly event that celebrates books and the written word. The festival began in 1999 with the goals of emphasizing the importance of reading and bringing the finest literary talent to Southwest Florida. Now in its 22nd year, this free festival has grown in popularity and attracts thousands of book-loving attendees annually. The Reading Festival’s objectives are to promote reading and literacy, increase awareness of the library’s programs and resources and foster partnerships between the Lee County Library System and the community. It is also an opportunity to share with the community the available resources and services at their local Lee County libraries with a library card. The Reading Festival aims to build a literate community by encouraging children to develop an interest in reading independently, which fosters an increase in vocabulary and improved writing skills. For more, visit www.ReadFest.org.