Hershey Public Library Hosts Local Author Festival


Stephen J. Kozan speaks to adults and children during the Local Arts Festival on April 2, 2016. His message was to show kids that writing is something anyone can do if they just go for it. His works include The Journey of a Lifetime and The Great Green Tree and The Magical Ladders. (Broadcaster/Jenny Kim)

Jenny Kim, Reporter

By: Jenny Kim

A new and innovative idea had just transpired at the Hershey Public Library.

The Hershey Public Library hosted its first ever Local Authors Festival on Saturday, April 2, 2016. The event brought around 40 authors from the local area together to talk and present about their written works. From 9:30 AM to 5 PM, the Hershey Library was filled with inspiring presentations, stellar writing, and talented artists of literature.

The person who came up with the idea for an author festival was the Adult Education Coordinator, Julie Brnik. As many authors come into the library asking for book signings and such, it’s hard to tell most of them no. Therefore, Brnik thought of a way to bring everyone together and also attract local people into the library. Barbara Ellis, the Director of Library Services, thought this was an amazing idea.

“It’s hard to say no to people who are really working on a craft that requires public exposure,” Ellis said, “and this is what we came up with.”

As the plan was hatched, Brnik was hard at work getting the news out there and getting authors to sign up for the event. She had put ads on local papers, channels, and in the library monthly newsletters. Soon enough, she had received many applications to be a part of the festival.

“It could not have worked out any better,” said Brnik.

One of the author participant requirements was that he or she must plan a 15 minute presentation on any area of his or her expertise. The presentations ranged from fully inspiring to just down-right funny. Author Hope Ilene Pesner, who was diagnosed with autism talked about her way of overcoming obstacles while another man, Stephen J. Kozan, talked to inspire young writers to never give up.

“Kids think that it’s impossible,” said Kozan, “ but you just got to for it.”

The festival was set up all around the library, but the main attraction was in Meeting Room 1. Booths were set up all over the room, inviting anyone to come in and talk to the authors face to face. The genres ranged from children’s books to romantic werewolf fantasies, and each author was very eager to talk about their works of literature and invited everyone with an open smile.

The directors of the library hope to put the message out there that they value the work of authors. They hope to provide hope and encouragement to authors that are just trying to get themselves out there. Additionally, they hope to gain a sense of community among the library and the authors.

Overall the event was a great success. The authors ranged from handicaps to historians to firefighters. It was very inspiring to see all these people come together to present their work. A specific author, Sharon Cree, who saved 60 beagles, wrote a story on her very own pet called Louise on the Lam.

“It’s worth all the hard work,” Cree said. “ It’s so rewarding to know that my story is out there to inspire others.”