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Book festival brings readers and authors together

ENCINITAS — The San Diego County Library Book Festival hosted a myriad of activities and speakers for hundreds of residents on Oct. 9 at the Encinitas branch library.
From award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss to best-selling local authors, participants were treated to lectures and interactive events during the annual festival that stretched across the street into a neighborhood park.
Encinitas Branch Librarian Amy Chandler said the festival was “designed to bring readers and authors together to remind us all how important reading is.”
“The festival provides a new dimension to the reading experience,” Chandler said. In fact, the keynote speaker, actor and activist Richard Dreyfuss doesn’t have a book out at all. He spoke to a packed room about his new nonprofit, The Dreyfuss Initiative, which seeks to bring civics education into the classroom.
Other non-book-related activities piqued the interest of those who wouldn’t otherwise spend a Saturday afternoon at the library. World-class skateboarder Lynn Kramer conducted the “Deck Out Your Deck” skateboard design workshop on the picturesque patio of the library.
Kramer, a local resident, is a seven-time Women’s Slalom Skateboarding World Champion. Her three world records for slalom skateboarding were not lost on the groms looking to redesign their skateboard decks with her help. “This is the most fun I’ve had at the library,” said Samuel Duponte, 10, an Oceanside resident, as he spray-painted his board.
“Our core values are to inform, educate, inspire and entertain,” Chandler said. To this end Gretchen Schomer Wendel, author of the award-winning series of children’s books “Becka and the Big Bubble,” read her stories and interacted with the children. The main character’s boots and a wig helped keep the participants excited.
Along with the six books, Schomer Wendel and her brother, Adam Schomer, have a television show based on the books which airs regularly on PBS. “My brother is the comedian so he’s great at keeping everyone entertained,” Schomer Wendel said.
For the book-lovers at the festival, Rae Armantrout was on hand to speak about her most recent book, “Versed,” which received the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Professor of Poetry and Poetics at UCSD was part of the “dream list” of authors according to Chandler. “We got incredibly lucky this year with the number of quality local authors,” she said.
Adding to the excitement at the festival was the project The People’s Post. Local residents across the county are encouraged to share stories about relevant people, places and events in order to keep an active historical narrative archived. A professional videographer films the session while the storyteller gets a free recording of the finished product.
“There are so many ways the library can contribute to the well-being of a community and this is an important event to show how crucial it is to support your local library,” Pam Wescott said. The Cardiff-by-the-Sea resident is a regular at the library with her three children. “Especially in the tough economic times, it’s important to know there is a place with all of this information to go that’s free of charge.”