Gala with humor

James V. Brown Library held yet another successful Author Gala on Thursday evening.

Lisa Scottoline helped fill the Williamsport Country Club with laughs as she told the audience hilarious life anecdotes that helped her to her journey in becoming a New York Times best-selling author. A Philadelphia native, Scottoline is the author of more than 20 books and co-authors a weekly column called “Chick Wit” for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The highly anticipated 11th annual Author Gala sold out months ahead of time, before invitations even went out. Robin Glossner, director of development for the library, told the Sun-Gazette that the gala is the library’s major fundraiser each year, so it’s important to select a well-known author who also is a great public speaker.

“We are so lucky to have an amazing committee of dedicated people who help make this event possible each year, and such a supportive community who attends and bids on items and buys tickets, not to mention all the people and businesses who donated items to us,” Glossner said.

She noted that though they still are counting up the proceeds from the gala, she believes they have exceeded their budgeted goal.

“It’s going to be difficult to top Lisa Scottoline. She touched people’s hearts with her love of public libraries and she made us all laugh,” Glossner said.

“I’ve been to other speakers and dinners before, and she was top notch – one of the best I’ve ever heard,” Nan Young, Preservation Williamsport committee member, said.

Scottoline rattled the microphone as she clearly became emotionally invested in her own speech.

“If I’m not cringing,” Scottoline said of her writing, “I’m not being honest enough.”

She discussed struggles she faced as a single parent, the financial debt she faced before becoming successful, and other problems that she “wrote her way out of” and helped her get to where she is today.

All laughter aside, the theme of the evening was clear: connection, and how libraries are fundamental in their ability to connect people and ideas with the rest of the world.

“Every dollar raised tonight is important because it serves as a catalyst for change for people in our community,” said James V. Brown’s executive director, Barbara McGary, in the opening statements.

“What I mean by this, is when you support libraries and library services, you are supporting more than a place with books and technology. What you are really supporting, are ideas and relationships,” she said.

As the chair of PA Forward, an initiative through the Pennsylvania Library Association, libraries – especially Pennsylvania Libraries – are important to Scottoline.

Through speaking at libraries and events like the Author Gala, Scottoline hopes to change the way people think about libraries and realize their importance.

“The purpose of the arts is connection it’s about the community it builds,” she said.

“I stand here to say thank you not as an author, not even as someone who loves books, but really to stand in place of the person who is going to walk up the steps of your beautiful library tomorrow.”

As a last note, she commented that the 11th annual Author Gala was one of the best, most well organized events she has ever done.