Bradenton book lovers recently got a big treat when Stephen King took part in a fundraiser to raise money for literacy.
The author made a special appearance Thursday night at the Manatee Performing Arts Center to help raise money for the Manatee County Library System.
"I’m totally in awe that he been as generous as he has,” said Jane Plitt, President of the Manatee Library Foundation Inc.
Plitt organized the event called "An Evening with Stephen King." She said they were able to get King to help them out after taking a risk to contact him.
"A friend of mine knew we had a goal of trying to raise $100,000," said Plitt. “So, she suggested that she could get a letter to Mr. King when he signed books in Sarasota. We wrote the letter and he actually read the letter. He responded and agreed to come. The letter suggested that we are an award-winning system that needed to upgrade their operating system and he understood. We were the little engine that could."
Only three weeks after being publicly announced, the event sold out and the foundation reached its fundraiser goal.
The money is being used help overhaul the Library System’s online operating system.
"It enables us to purchase us that backbone library computer system that will take us into next century,” said Ava Ehde, the Library Services for Manager Manatee Libraries. “People will now be able to jump into an eBook, they can pay their bills on-line, and they can request books online.”
Prior to speaking the group of more than 300 people, King mingled with his fans. He shook hands with them, talked to them and even took several pictures.
It was a sold-out crowd that attracted people from all over the world.
“I took the opportunity from this event and we travelled with all the family from Israel,” said Shachar Crouvi, who was at the event with his 9-year old daughter. Both are from Israel. They said they planned a whole family vacation around the opportunity to see King in Bradenton.
In addition to the special appearance, King donated signed, rare, first-edition books to raffle off to raise even more money.
King’s books have sold more than 350 million copies worldwide. His most popular titles include "Carrie," "The Shining," "The Stand," "Misery," "It" and "The Dark Tower." He has received the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America along with numerous writing awards in the fields of fantasy, fiction, horror and mystery writing.
The new on-line operating system should be in place by late fall. For more information about the Manatee County Public Library System, visit www.mymanatee.org/library.