Muncy Public Library celebrates 80 years with Authors in Our Back Yard

COURTNEY HAYDEN/Sun-Gazette Local authors came together on Jan. 28 to celebrate the Muncy Public Library’s 80th anniversary with their Authors in Our Backyard event. Pictured is Christine Beishland (top row, left), Tara Shoemaker Holdren, Marjorie Maddox, Michael Anthony Cillo, Larry Stout, Kevin Coolidge, Chantal Gadoury, Nancy Magargle, Jade Heasley (bottom row, left), Carol Strayer-McTurner, Shirley E. Leonard, Carrie Anne Nobel and Antonia Marie Watts.

The Muncy Public Library, 108 S. Main St., Muncy, is celebrating their 80th anniversary this year. They kicked off their celebration with Authors in Our Backyard on Sunday, Jan. 28.

Thirteen local authors, Carrie Anne Nobel, Chantal Gadoury, Marjorie Maddox, Jade Heasley, Nancy Magargle, Michael Anthony Cillo, Tara Shoemaker Holdren, Larry Stout, Shirley E. Leonard, Christine Beishland, Antonia Marie Watts, Carol Strayer-McTurner and Kevin Coolidge, came to support the Muncy Public Library.

These authors write everything from children’s novels to young adult, poetry, fiction and non-fiction.

There were refreshments at the event for guests who passed through, and there also were opportunities to win books written by each of the featured local authors.

“We noticed quite a few people in Muncy were actually published,” said Crystal Millard, director of the library. “I don’t think the community realizes how much talent they have right next door to them.”

In addition to Authors in Our Backyard, the Muncy Public Library will be celebrating their 80th anniversary throughout the year by having a coloring contest, hosting an art show in collaboration with the local elementary and high schools, gift card bingo and much more, Millard said.

Authors in Our Backyard “shows that there is a lot of local people with good ideas that are willing to take the initiative to actually try to get a book published, because it is not necessarily easy,” said Beishline, author of “The Light Blood: Forever Starts.” “It is also nice to be able to engage with the community and share our ideas.”

“I had no idea there were this many local authors, and I think it is fantastic,” said Evelyn Derrick, president of the Board of Trustees at the Muncy Public Library, and a team member for more than 30 years. “It is significant to showcase this area’s talent who we don’t usually hear about.”

At the event, “we had an 11th-grade girl come in … and she wants to write, she wants to do these kinds of things,” said Cillo, author of “Abby’s Tails: The Quest Begins” and “The Sound of Fear.” “She already has a novel that she’s been writing, and Amanda (Cillo’s illustrator for “Abby’s Tails“) asked her what was it about, and you could just see it — she lit up,” Cillo said.

The Muncy Public Library has much more than just books, as they also offer use of their computers, DVD rentals, free Wi-Fi, fax machines, printers, a student study area and a free meeting room for non-profit societies. The library’s collection also is available 24/7 thanks to their expansion into digital and audiobooks that patrons can access online.

“The library is free to anybody and everybody,” said Millard. “We have something available for everybody. We do everything … to help prepare your child and offer adult continuing education classes, there is something for everyone, and it is all free.”

The library also has a summer reading program for all ages, including adults. Other programs focus on crafts, ongoing education and even provide information about the local area. They also offer programs for parents who may not be able to afford preschool care.

“This library is a little gem in this community. Many people don’t even know where it is,” said Derrick. “The library is one of the central focuses … of a community. Nothing happens without being able to read.”

The library originally started as a private home. On July 19, 1981, it was destroyed in a fire and was rebuilt, said Derrick.

In the future, the library has plans to build new and move to a location on New Street, closer to the Ward L. Myers Elementary School. This will not be their first big move, as their current location is the third home to house their collection. In addition, the library already has a lot on New Street.

There is no definite date set for construction, as they need to raise $2.5 million to build the new library.

“My mom would take me to the James V. Brown Library, and it was where I discovered my friends, which were books” said Gadoury, author of “Allerleirauh” and “The Songs in our Hearts.” “There is so much you can learn here and there is so much knowledge. So it is important to support that because once you lose that you are losing the possibility for a free education.”

“We like to be a part of your life. It’s not just a place where you have to whisper and be quiet anymore,” said Millard.

You can visit the Muncy Public Library from 12 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, or between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. You also can visit to access their online catalog and services.