Dear Friends,

The Friends have just completed a successful season of literacy!

We hosted author William Kent Krueger at our annual Literary Luncheon. Luncheon participants commented on how approachable and easy-going he was and we were proud to present an author of his caliber to our membership. We also coordinated with Copperfish Books for an author night, thereby reaching more readers in our community.

The entire Board worked toward the success of this annual fundraiser with their time and resources, and especially luncheon co-chairs Berna Goldberg and Teresa Coady. Thank you to our Platinum Sponsor, Judi Roth for continuing to support our luncheon and our mission.

We hosted graphic novelists Will Perkins and Eric Grissom at the Punta Gorda Middle School. They spoke about their writing and illustrating process to the sixth-grade classes and then presented a writing workshop for a smaller group of students.

If you have not renewed your membership yet, we ask that you do so. If you have never joined, please consider joining, and if you have friends or neighbors who love libraries, ask them to join.

Individual/family membership for $15 a year or a lifetime membership for $150. Local busi-nesses can join as Business Patrons for $100 a year. Each membership is a way to help the Friends support the library.
We on the Friends board have begun planning for 2024 and strive to bring more authors such as these in the future.

Friends Always, Minerva

From The Bookstore

By Katie Mazzi, Bookstore Manager

The award-winning Mystery Scene Magazine was published quarterly from 1985 until the end of 2022. I loved that magazine. It reviewed all types of crime fiction from cozies to noir to thrillers. There were in-depth interviews with authors as well as articles about the great mystery writers of the past. There were also mys-tery-themed games and puzzles. I treasured this publication and had a ritual when it would arrive every season. I would wait until there was time for me to settle into my favorite chair with a beverage and only then would I start reading. There would be a notepad nearby so I could jot down books I wanted to read based on the articles and reviews. It was a joy to be reminded of authors and books from the past; some I had read, but others that I decided I needed to read. But alas, in De-cember, I received a postcard informing me the print edition of the magazine was ending. However, Mystery Scene Magazine would live on in the form of a monthly digital magazine.

Each month, I receive an email telling me the new monthly online magazine is available. Yes, I click on the link and read it, but it is just not the same. I miss holding the magazine in my hand and flipping through it before settling in to read it from cover to cover or going back and reviewing something I had already read.

While Mystery Scene Magazine is considered a niche magazine, it is just another of a growing list of print magazines that are either no longer in existence or found only in digital format. Some of these iconic magazines are Life, Look, McCalls, Ladies Home Journal, Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, Field and Stream, Gourmet, Martha Steward Living, and O (Oprah) Magazine.

Magazines have been one of the most popular items sold in the Friends Bookstore. We sell them for 25 cents each and you can’t find a better bargain any-where. Bookstore volunteers get to know their regular patrons and what maga-zines they are looking for when they come into the store and head to the magazine rack. Some popular magazines include The New Yorker, The Week, Food and Wine, People, Golf Week, Consumer Report, Southern Living, and Sports Illustrat-ed. Of course, magazines that pertain to aviation, cars, boating, RVing, quilting, fashion, hobbies, nature, or travel also sell quickly.

In the last year, we have had fewer and fewer current magazines to sell. Part of this is due to people no longer subscribing to magazines or purchasing individual copies. If they do subscribe, they keep the maga-zines stacked up in their home never to be read again. If patrons don’t bring us their magazines, we won’t have any to sell.

Twenty years ago, the Bookstore Manager wrote articles for The BOOKMARK asking people to do-nate current magazines to the bookstore. Now I am doing the same thing. Don’t stack up the magazines; bring them to the bookstore. We have earned a lot of money over the years, 25 cents at a time.


Literacy Outreach by Tony Farina, Friends Director

It could have been a regular Wednesday for the sixth graders at Punta Gorda Middle School. It was just a day in February when students are stuck in that place between the memories of win-ter break fading and spring break seeming too far away. Thanks in part to a generous donation from the Shively Charitable Foundation, and the dedi-cation of The Friends of the Punta Gorda Char-lotte Library, the sixth graders were treated to a day of inspiration and art.

Writer Eric Grissom and artist Will Perkins, crea-tors of Dark Horse Comics’ Middle-Reader graphic novel, Goblin, gave a rousing presenta-tion as part of the annual Literacy Outreach pro-gram. They shared pictures of themselves in sixth grade and told some pretty embarrassing stories about middle school, because, let’s face it, middle school can be pretty hard. They shared their own journeys through middle school and explained to the kids that it was their love for reading and art that encouraged them to get through the hard times. They ended the presentation with a big group selfie that everyone loved.

After the big event, Will and Eric moved upstairs to work with 30 kids who had paired off into writer/artist teams. They submitted sample pages of comics they had created to earn their spots in the workshop. Will said that these kids were so much further advanced than he was at their age. The group spent an hour learning from two working, comic book professionals how to create characters, how to do layouts, and how to add dialogue to the pages. They learned how comics are made from start to finish. Everyone, including Will and Eric, left inspired.

If that isn’t enough inspiration for one day, I would be remiss to leave this story untold. In the gym, after the big event was over, and after kids came up to get handshakes, fist bumps, and individual selfies with the guys, one of the teachers approached them to share something special. She told them that one of her special needs students was completely engrossed and hanging on every word during the entire presentation. The student struggles with ex-pression but is incredibly artistic. The teacher told Will and Eric that they changed that student’s life by showing the student that literature and art can not only help with sharing emotions and ideas, but is a viable career path.

That is why we do this and that is why we will, with our great partnership with the Punta Gorda area schools and the Shively Charitable Foundation, keep doing this year after year.

All Around The Library

2023 Friends Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon by Shelly Pollack, Friends Director

On Monday, March 6, after a much too-long break due to the Covid pandemic, the annual Volunteer Luncheon was held at the Twin Isles Country Club. The luncheon provides an opportunity to thank all those volunteers who help make our Friends organization one in which we can all be proud.

A big thank you goes to Katie Mazzi and Susan Cravens for planning and executing the event. Thanks also go directly to Susan for providing all the unique door prizes. It is a nice touch and something that makes this event extra special.

Sarah Davis, a longtime volunteer in our bookstore and member of the board, resigned this year. Katie paid special tribute to Sarah for years of leadership and service to the Friends. She will be missed.

I want to say it’s wonderful to be part of a like-minded community who love books, love to read, love to rec-ommend books, and are thrilled to find and follow a new author and pass on a book to a friend. We support a patron-friendly library and most importantly we promote literacy here in Punta Gorda.

To all those who were able to attend, thank you and your spouses for attending. To those volunteers that were unable to attend, you were missed and we hope you can join us in 2024. To all our volunteers, thank you for always stepping up and saying, “I can help”.

2023 Summer Reading by Liz Lee, Youth Services Librarian

The Punta Gorda Charlotte Library is excited to kick off another fun-filled Summer Reading Program this June and July. The theme is “All Together Now” and the Charlotte County Libraries & History Division is exploring this theme through a global perspective. We officially kick off on Saturday, June 3rd at 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM across the county. Families can register for Summer Reading at any point during that day and afterwards. However, the kick-off party is from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM featuring Sunny Days ice cream truck and It’s a Hot Dog Day hotdog cart at the Punta Gorda Charlotte Library. We will also have different games outside for families to enjoy and they can pick up their kickoff bag and Summer Reading information with Ms. Liz, the Youth Services Librarian.

Our Summer Reading Programs are important to help prevent the summer slide. We have reading challenges and fun educational programs that are staff led and incorporate outside presenters to encourage reading and exploring the world around us. We also have some programs planned for our adult patrons to travel the world too, so keep an eye out for our calendars and posts on our library website. Have a wonderful summer and hopefully we will see you in the library!

Literary Luncheon

By Berna Goldberg, Friends Director

Wow: A look back on a visit by William Kent Kreuger

What can you say at the end of a full year of work that culminates in a perfect day?

What can you say when an author not on-ly writes beautifully but delivers one of the very best presentations, that the Friends of The Punta Gorda Charlotte Library has ever had the privilege of hosting? William Kent Kreuger, whom we were told to call Kent quite literally captivated the entire room. He regaled us with personal stories of his introduction to reading novels by a beloved local librarian and his struggles with writing and “finding his groove,” and ultimately his true self in the written word which culmi-nated with him finally publishing his first, but thankfully not his last, novel.

What can you say to Kent Krueger? He flew into town without much more than his smile, a baseball cap, and a commitment. He embraced our town, the library, Copperfish Books, and every person he met. He took the time to ask questions of everyone he met. He made us all feel as though he was there for us; as though, we were doing him a favor. He left with our hearts and a standing ovation.

What can you say to the many behind-the-scenes workers? They came together and gave so much of them-selves in the planning, prepping, and executing of a perfect day. Quite literally the unsung heroes, in my esti-mation, who selected our author, made the gorgeous raffle baskets and the silent auction quilt. To the flawless handling of the reservations and the soothing of the unfortunate many who were not able to attend because we sold out so quickly. Those who greeted everyone and gave out table assignments sold raffle tickets, and finally the beautiful photo coverage by The Florida Weekly paper.

What can you say to your Library Board of Directors, Minerva, Teresa, Katie, Joann, Hank, Judi, Georgia, Su-san, Cecelia, Tony, Jane, Deborah, Jerri, Shelly, Geri, Brenda, and Penny, who took on this labor of love? What can you say to Judi Roth, who once again helped fund the event so that the Literary Luncheon raised thousands of dollars to support our local library? The only thing to say is, “THANK YOU!”