The Coffee County Manchester Public Library officially kicked off its adult reading program with an author signing at the library Saturday, Jan. 14.
“This is an annual event, we do this every year to kick off our adult reading program,” librarian and events coordinator Daphanie Gragg said.
Gragg said the library had 20 area authors sign up to participate in the signing, and within the event’s first hour 18 were in attendance.
“This year we are doing it a little different,” she said. “Normally it is everybody crammed up front, so this year we spread everybody out and we have an author passport that everybody has to give out a sticker for and that will be used as a raffle ticket at the end.”
Jane Banks Campbell was on hand during the event with her daughter and co-author Lori Jill Smith, along with her granddaughter Mia Smith. The pair were signing their Postcard History Series books, featuring historic postcards of Manchester as well as Tennessee State Parks.
Campbell said the pair decided to publish a postcard history of Manchester after she ran across one featuring the road cut through the mountain near the Noah community on U.S. Highway 41. They then began collecting historic postcards and decided to publish a book.
“We were amazed what we found, we had fun talking to people I grew up with and got all kinds of good information,” she said.
Eventually a second book, featuring historic postcards of Tennessee State parks collected by Smith was published a few years later.
“I was collecting a bunch of state park postcards for fun and then we realized that could be a book,” Smith said.
Granddaughter Mia Smith said she also enjoys looking at the historic postcards.
“It is fun looking at the back and seeing people’s handwriting and where they were writing to,” she said.
Children’s book author Michael Shoulders was another participate in Saturday’s book signing. To date, Shoulders has written 23 children’s books, including The Legend of the Christmas Pickle, V is for Volunteer: A Tennessee Alphabet and T is for Titanic: A Titanic Alphabet.
“I am a retired educator, teacher, administrator, and now I just write and travel,” Shoulders said. “My first book was published in 2001 and it took me five years to sell that first one.”
Shoulders said he began writing after attending a two-week writing course.
“We heard writers speak, and one of them said the phrase that triggered it, she said don’t try to publish a book… it is too hard, and I thought wait a minute here,” he said.
Local Author Reggi Broach was joined by her husband Ronald for the event Saturday.
Broach is the author of The Defender Series.
“This is my Christian Science Fiction series, there are seven books in the series published and there are seven more coming,” she said. “I am actually writing the last one now, supposedly the last one.”
Broach said while she initially had aspirations of writing after her college years, family and life delayed that until about 10-12 years ago when she began writing the series.
“The first two books I created as one book and my editors were like, that is too much… so I split it in two books,” she said.
Other featured authors include J.L. Lawrence, Darcy Flynn, Dr. Lona Bailey, Dr. Elizabeth Taylor, Jeanne Hardt, Heather Beck, Greg Brooks, Michael Oliver, D.L. Holliday, H L Robertson, Sheila Robertson, Jenna Cossey, Jane Lusk, Kelly Rich, Michael Shoulders and R.D. Sherrill.
Gragg said the library’ adult reading program, which runs through Feb. 11, is designed to encourage adults to come into the library and check out books that perhaps they normally wouldn’t think to read.
“We have the bingo that really challenges them to change up their genre a little bit and once they complete the bingo they can get a prize,” she said. “We have some really epic prizes that were donated by the community and we were sponsored by Ford of Manchester for our weekly prizes.”