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Thread: Stephen King to speak at Manatee library fundraiser

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    Three month renovation project at Central Library in Bradenton is almost complete

    It's being paid for largely through $100,000 in proceeds from the January Stephen King fundraiser sponsored by the Manatee Library Foundation.

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    I can't express how happy my heart is every time I learn about King's work helping libraries. Thanks for keeping us updated!

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    He's back!

    http://www.bradenton.com/2015/09/17/...oundation.html
    Star power indeed. Last January, the Manatee Library Foundation scored a major coup by enticing Stephen King to hold court at the organization's annual author event, raising a record $100,000. This coming January, the foundation pushed the bar even higher, perhaps out of sight. John Grisham will join his good friend King on the stage as the center of attention.

    Good grief, how did little old Bradenton manage to corral two of the most popular authors in the world? The story, as told by Manatee Library Foundation President Jane Plitt and Manatee County Library Services Manager Ava Ehde, puts a shining light on the people in our community.

    "Stephen King was really taken with us, the event, the library, the response, the warmth," Plitt told the Herald ahead of Tuesday's official public announcement of the grand pairing. The best-selling author "fell in love" with Bradenton, she noted.

    King pitched the idea of inviting Grisham -- by twisting his arm a bit, telling his friend he owed him one. An invitation to vacation with his wife at King's Casey Key estate sealed the deal.

    Last year's fundraiser allowed the Manatee County Public Library System to replace an out-of-date operating system with a state-of-the-art online system.

    With the upcoming event, Plitt hopes to collect $175,000 for an admirable children's literacy program.

    Since the venue for January's "Bookends: An Evening With Two Literary Giants" is the more cavernous Neel Performing Arts Center than last January's "An Evening With Stephen King" at the Manatee Performing Arts Center -- roughly double the seating -- $175,000 sounds modest. (Our thanks to State College of Florida for donating the use of the Neel auditorium for this.)

    The King event sold out on sponsorships alone, ahead of the date set for the start of $150 general admission sales. The Jan. 19 Grisham-King event could as well, even with an additional 350 seats in the Neel over the MPAC. Sponsorships start at $300, on sale now. The $150 public tickets will be offered beginning Oct. 15.

    In a book-sales tabulation, King bests Grisham by 350 million to 250 million, but either figure assures great wealth. That these two incredibly successful authors would donate their time is a tribute to their commitment to reading and literacy.

    The goal: children's literacy

    And all of the money collected by the "Bookends" event will go toward improving the reading skills of Manatee County children -- "to combat the illiteracy crisis in our community," Plitt wrote in a letter to Grisham "summoning" him here to help.

    The foundation sought his assistance in raising money for a Family Literacy Center geared toward capitalizing on proven research for helping children to read -- "with family involvement to assure (school) attendance and engagement, summer programs to stop the summer slide (in learning) and pre-K programming to level the playing field for reading," Plitt also wrote.

    Perhaps the most convincing point is this: This community "sorely" lacks the resources to teach basic literacy to children from low-income families. More than 50 percent of Manatee third-graders cannot read at that grade level, and almost 80 percent come from poor families.

    The foundation's intentions dovetail with the strategic efforts driving the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, which Manatee County joined this year. Forty entities across Sarasota and Manatee counties are involved in this endeavor.

    Education literature shows third grade is the critical time for students to shift from "learning to read" to "reading to learn," thus gaining vital comprehension skills and mastering more complex material. That paves the way for more opportunities for a lifetime of achievement.

    "Their focus is literacy," Plitt said of King and Grisham. "They heard about the crisis here."

    Thank you, Stephen King, for your friendship. And thank you, John Grisham, for agreeing to come. The community is in your debt.

    Event details: manatee libraryfoundation.org; 941-216-8746.

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    I still don't like Jane Plitt.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingfan24 View Post
    I still don't like Jane Plitt.
    Dorthy was awesome though!
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  6. #56
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    http://www.bradenton.com/2015/09/20/...bradenton.html
    All she asked for was a rock 'n' roll band. She ended up getting two of the best-selling authors of all time.

    She is Jane Plitt, the president of the Manatee Library Foundation. On Jan. 19, as almost everyone in Bradenton now knows, Stephen King spoke to a full house at the Manatee Performing Arts Center and raised $100,000 for the foundation.

    And Plitt already had her eyes on something bigger as a follow-up.

    "I asked Stephen King if he could bring his band to Bradenton, his authors band," she said.

    That band is the Rock Bottom Remainders, a notoriously mediocre rock covers band that featured, at various times, King, Dave Barry, Mitch Albom, Roy Blount Jr., Amy Tan and Matt Groening.

    The band had broken up, though, and King apparently wasn't too keen on a reunion.

    "He looked at me and said 'There's no way that band is getting back together,' " Plitt said. "I said 'But this community loves you and we will have ongoing needs.'"

    King's reply was "John Grisham owes me one."

    Thus started the chain of events that led to a major coup for the Library Foundation, and in fact for Manatee County: Grisham and King will appear together on stage Jan. 19 at the Neel Performing Arts Center at the State College of Florida.

    It's historic. They're two of the biggest names in book world, with combined sales of something like 600 million books.

    It didn't all happen right away. Plitt had to put together a proposal and send it to King. King, who Plitt said had "fallen in love with Bradenton," has a passion for libraries and for literacy, so he liked where the money was going. Grisham shares those passions, and when King said that Grisham and his wife could stay at King's home on Casey Key, the deal was set.

    Or almost, anyway. There were still some inter-author negotiations to be done.

    Grisham apparently thought this favor was a little bigger than the one he owed King. So he said that King would have to be up there on the stage with him. King countered by insisting that the focus be on Grisham, not on him. Only Grisham's book will be on sale at the event, and only Grisham will appear at the VIP event for high-level sponsors.

    "They're friends." Plitt said, "so I imagine that they had some fun pushing each other."

    If you hadn't heard about the Grisham-King event before the formal announcement on Tuesday, it's because people around in the Bradenton are really good at keeping secrets. The Library Foundation had told sponsors of the King event all about it, but asked them not to tell. They also told people at the Bradenton Herald. Dozens of people, at least, knew about it weeks before the announcement. But the word didn't seem to spread around town.

    When King spoke in January, he wanted to keep the evening as intimate as he could, while still raising a ton of money for the Manatee Library Foundation. So he didn't want to speak in a venue bigger than Stone Hall in the Manatee Performing Arts Center.

    The problem was that the 380 seats in Stone Hall were quickly taken up by sponsors, who pay premium prices and get some perks. No one could buy an individual ticket.

    Grisham was fine with bigger venue, so the Grisham-King event was moved to the Neel, which is a little more than twice as big as Stone Hall. The hope is that the general public will be able to get seats, which will go on sale for $150 apiece on Oct. 14. Plitt said she expects that tickets will be available. But the idea of a fundraiser is to raise funds, so if sponsors buy up all the tickets that's not all that bad.

    You can find out about tickets and sponsorships at manateelibraryfoundation.org.

    (Anyone can be a sponsor. The sponsorships start at $300, which gets you one ticket and some bonuses, and go up to $7,500.)

    They're hoping to raise $175,000 this time for various literacy programs. The programs and the money to fund them are desperately needed. As of last year, Plitt said, 50 percent of third graders in Manatee County couldn't read at a third-grade level.

    "That's a crisis," she said. "It's a crisis for our schools, it's a crisis for future employers, it's a crisis for the government."

    The one problem, if you can call it that, is that once you've gotten Stephen King and John Grisham to appear together in Bradenton, there's not much of a way to top it.

    Plitt may not have connections to anyone who can get even bigger names, but she knows who does.

    "I intend to ask Mr. Grisham," she said. "I think the gauntlet has been passed, don't you?"

  7. #57
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    Has anyone called to see if there will be a signing?

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    There is no signing Doris told me.
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  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by barlow View Post
    Has anyone called to see if there will be a signing?
    I was told they have asked Grisham to sign however since the venue holds over 800 there will not be a signing , however Grisham may pre-sign some books. King will not and has emphasized this event is to feature Grisham.

  10. #60
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    I would view this event strictly as a donation to the library since you can pick up about a dozen signed Grisham books for retail from places like the shop in Alabama that sells the McCammon books. I can't see any great reason for folks outside the area attending at those prices.

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