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Virtual Southwest Florida Reading Festival to kick off

By LC LIBRARY SYSTEM - | Feb 24, 2021

The 22nd annual Southwest Florida Reading Festival in 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 on March 1-12. Other highlights include the opportunity to video chat with headlining and local authors during the live booth hours on March 6 and March 13 from 1-3 p.m. 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,” library Director Mindi Simon said. “The online format allows us to extend the festival’s length and scope.”

Patrons can log on to EventHub for a preview of the festival. Author presentations will broadcast on weekday evenings on March 1-5 and 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.

More opportunities to chat with authors will be offered during the live booth hours at 1 p.m. After live events conclude on March 13, attendees can 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 on 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 books will be distributed in age-appropriate grab-and-go craft bags, available while supplies last at the Lee County branches, including the Captiva Memorial Library. 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 the free community event by making a secure online donation, visit www.ReadFest.org or contact 239-533-4832 for more information.