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Times of the Islands Magazine

Southwest Florida Reading Festival Goes Virtual for 2021 Event

In its 22nd year celebrating the power of reading in the community, the Southwest Florida Reading Festival will carry on its traditions in a new way this March by adopting a fully virtual format, according to its website and Facebook page.

Nearly 30 acclaimed and bestselling authors are scheduled to give virtual presentations and participate in live, interactive "Meet & Greets" on the event website from March 1 to 13, 2021. All of the virtual author presentations will be recorded for on-demand viewing throughout the month of March. The event website will be available the week of Feb. 22 to familiarize attendees with the new, online Event Hub platform. 

The free event is presented annually by the Lee County Library System to promote reading, literacy, and library services. In the past, best-selling authors have given presentations and signed books for fans.

"Lee County libraries play an important and contemporary role in our community as dynamic centers for learning and knowledge for all ages," the event website says. "Today’s library program is just as likely to be hands-on computer instruction as it is to be a book discussion. Today’s reference questions are just as likely to be answered via telephone, email, or online chat as by a librarian at the reference desk. The Lee County Library System adds resources every day."

The annual reading festival is "an opportunity to take programs and resources outside the library’s walls to inform existing users about available services and to entice new users to think of their local library whenever they need information of any kind."

Author presentations will take place each weeknight during the festival, with live meet and greets to follow. Children's and teen author events will take place at 6 p.m. and adult author events will take place at 7.

STEAM contests featuring LEGO building, art, and creativity challenges take place Feb. 22 - March 14, with online voting to take place March 15 - 31. The top vote-earning entries in each age category will win prizes. Other festival events and perks include BINGO, Name a Character Raffle, Grab & Go Festival Craft, free books, the virtual marketplace, and an aspiring authors writing contest (deadline for entries is Feb. 10).

For more information, visit