Bookends proceeds will fund local literacy programming through Manatee County Public Library System

  • Feb 1, 2016

MANATEE COUNTY, FL (Feb. 1, 2016) – After netting nearly $215,000 from the Jan. 19 Bookends event with John Grisham and Stephen King, the Manatee Library Foundation Board this week allocated all of the proceeds to a pilot project aimed at improving literacy rates among local children.

 Foundation board members voted Tuesday to contribute $161,000 to the Library to hire a full time Literacy Coordinator for 2016 and 2017 and to begin providing services and supplies for a two-year Lifelong Learner literacy program that will be delivered by the Manatee County Public Library system. Another $65,000 will be needed beyond the Grisham-King proceeds to fully fund this effort.


I am a Lifelong Learner is designed to complement and build on other community-wide literacy efforts to increase reading and STEM success beyond the base services provided by the Library; additionally the program will provide underserved communities with direct access to professional librarians from our local system,” said Library Services Manager Ava Ehde. “It will enable us to get outside the libraries to offer programs and services at the point-of-need in the community.”

“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,”  added Jane Plitt, outgoing president of the Foundation. “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 between the Library Foundation’s fundraising efforts and the Manatee County Public Library system has elevated the ability for the public to access free resources and state of the art facilities provided by the Library,” 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.” 


“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.  We welcome tax-deductable contributions of any size.”


Donations to help the Lifelong Learner program can be made directly through or by sending contributions to the Library Foundation Inc., 1301 Barcarrota Blvd. W, Bradenton, 34205.


Bookends is now available for on-demand viewing on the Manatee Educational Television YouTube page here:


For more information on the Manatee Library Foundation, visit


For more information on Manatee County Public Library system, visit and follow them on Facebook at