Next weekend is the Kentucky Book Fair. On Friday afternoon, November 12, librarians from all over Kentucky will be choosing books by Kentuckians or about Kentucky to place on their shelves. On Saturday, November 13, the Fair opens to the public and authors will be there signing copies of their latest book. The organizers of the event refer to the fair as the premier book event in Kentucky. Authors from all over the state will be gathering in Frankfort to participate in this year's fair. For the authors, it is an opportunity to get their books into state libraries, and a great place to meet fans.
What I was surprised to learn is that many fans think the Book Fair is a great place for writers to make money. It is not. Proceeds from book sales at the Kentucky Book Fair go to support the fair and to provide grants to state libraries. Authors are donating their time, traveling at their own expense, and working hard to make this event a success.
I am proud to be a part of the Kentucky Book Fair. Last year the fair had more than 5000 visitors. More than $150,000 was spent on books. All proceeds of the fair went to pay the expenses of running the event and fund such worthy projects as increasing student literacy, providing social science books to an elementary school library, buying high interest books for reluctant readers, and adding a biography section to a rural library.
The organizers of the Kentucky Book Fair must choose between dozens of needy libraries to award a hand full of grants. Last year, only seven grants were issued for the kind of projects listed above. Those seven libraries are the lucky ones. In my hometown the public library is a new addition. It is not large, well funded, or likely to survive without support from the reading public.
If you are in Kentucky, come out, buy a book or two from your favorite Kentucky author and help us keep Kentucky reading.