Nicholas Sparks headlines 2017 Library Foundation fundraiser to benefit Manatee Public Library System

  • Sep 30, 2016

MANATEE COUNTY, FL (Sept. 30, 2016) – Manatee Library Foundation continued its string of blockbuster fundraiser announcements yesterday, revealing that Nicholas Sparks, the New York Times best-selling author of The Notebook and Safe Haven, will headline the Foundation’s fundraiser to benefit Manatee Public Library System.

 “An Evening with Nicholas Sparks” will be held Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017 at the Neel Performing Arts Center on the State College of Florida campus. The Sparks announcement marks the latest in a three-year run of renowned speakers that has included Stephen King and John Grisham and raised more than $300,000 for the Public Library System.


“We’re pleased to be hosting Mr. Sparks who has become one of the most prominent authors in the country,” said Susan Wilcox the Foundation’s event chair.

“It’s so special to be a part of this amazing series that’s an incredible win for our libraries, for literacy and for the community each year.”


Proceeds from the evening will continue to benefit the Manatee Library System’s innovative new literacy program, “I Am a Lifelong Learner.” The program aims to improve literacy by targeting the area’s youngest readers by providing a Lifelong Learner Campaign Coordinator to meet families at the point-of-need and offer outreach programs to develop literacy skills, add additional summer reading programs at our libraries, and enrich parental engagement through informational programs and supplementary resources such as Early Literacy Kits, new technologies and books.  


“We look forward to getting library cards and resources into the hands of the youngest readers and their families,” said Manatee County Library Services Manager Ava Ehde. “This campaign will enable us to help youth in areas where the community need is greatest and enable us to build community partnerships to better serve families and children onsite with literacy programming.”


Sponsorship packages from $10,000 (presenting sponsor) to $500 (patron) are available by calling (941) 216-8746. Reserved seating tickets are $150 and general admission tickets are $100.  Guests may also purchase tickets online beginning Oct. 10 at or by calling (941) 216-8746.



The Foundation will also give away two tickets to the Sparks event to the winner of a Flash Fiction contest challenging amateur writers to submit a 500-word prose piece focused on a relationship. One winner will be announced in January.


With a career that spans two decades, Sparks is the author of more than 20 books, including The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, Message in a Bottle, and The Longest Ride. His newest book, Two by Two, will debut in October. Twelve of his books have been made into major motion pictures, including The Notebook.


Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Sparks graduated valedictorian of his California high school in 1984, and received a full track scholarship to the University of Notre Dame. After breaking the Notre Dame school record as part of a relay team in 1985 as a freshman, he was injured and spent the summer recovering. During that summer, he wrote his first novel, though it was never published. He majored in Business Finance and graduated with high honors in 1988.




The Library Foundation Inc.’s mission is to ensure that the Manatee County Public Library System obtains and manages needed supplemental funds and support to achieve its potential today and tomorrow as an indispensable community resource. Find them online at  and on Facebook at


For more information on Manatee County Public Library System, or follow them on Facebook at    For more information on Manatee County Government, visit online at or call (941) 748-4501. You can also follow us on Facebook and on Twitter, @ManateeGov.

For more information on Manatee County Government, visit online at or call (941) 748-4501. You can also follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter, @ManateeGov.