Literary festival planning under way

First Posted: 4/22/2011

attended my first Chancellor’s Installation recently at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. It was truly inspiring and uplifting. To see all of those graduates with cap and gown in the various colors of their majors and schools gave me goosebumps. Now I’m itching to get my doctorate. I wonder if I have the energy?

Plans are under way for the Book ’Em Literacy Festival of North Carolina. I have been working diligently with key people in the community as well as the founders of the Book ’Em Foundation to have the location for this festival right here in Robeson County. The powers that be have agreed.

In February of 2012, the very first Book ’Em Literacy Festival of North Carolina will be held right here in Lumberton. Charles Chrestman, president of Robeson Community College, has agreed to let the festival be held at RCC. The event will be the weekend before the Rumba on the Lumber, hopefully as a kickoff to a week-long festival filled with daily events instead of one day.

What, may you ask, is a Book ’Em Literacy Festival? Well, it is a day long event that will bring 50 to 75 authors and publishers to one location. There will be a large area set up with tables where each author will have their books for sale and will gladly autograph the books. During the day there will be author talks, book talks, talks about how to market your books as well as how to get your books published. There will be children authors, teen authors, and adult authors. Books will be on all genres such as romance, mystery, suspense, crime, comedy, non-fiction, as well as children and young adult books.

The purpose of this festival is to raise money to promote literacy as well as to fight crime. The authors sell their books and a percentage goes back to the community in order to help a literacy council purchase the materials they need in order to teach adults and families how to read and write, as well as learn numbers and basic math. The money also goes to the local police department to help fight crime. (That’s where the Book ’Em comes in.)

I am currently recruiting people for my committee to plan and organize this event for the last Saturday in February starting next year and every year thereafter. After the event, I will be recruiting people to start up a literacy council. We will need people willing to work one-on-one with illiterate people from the community who want to learn. I will offer up all of the library locations around the county as a place to meet with and teach those who want to learn how to read, write and do arithmetic. The money will also be going to the Police Department for the Weed and Seed Program in order to prevent crime.

I am very excited about this event. Please watch for it on our website in the upcoming months. We are currently re-working our website but a link to the Book ’Em will be included soon with all the details and links to the authors that will be attending the event. We will be looking for sponsors as well. So if you want your business to be a part of this amazing program, please contact me.

n Tina Stepp is the director at the Robeson County Public Library and can be reached at (910) 738-4859 or [email protected]

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