Review “Looking Into the Crystal Ball”: The Future of Selby Public Library Looks Bright; “Crystal Ball” Fundraiser Draws Record Crowds

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Looking Into the Crystal Ball

The Future of Selby Public Library Looks Bright

Crystal Ball” Fundraiser Draws Record Crowds

By Andrea Mastrocinque-Martone

It doesn’t take a soothsayer to foresee the future of the Selby Public Library, the shining jewel of the Sarasota community.

The sixth annual Friends of the Selby Public Library fund-raising event drew an unprecedented crowd of 925 who feasted on samplings from local restaurants, met local book authors, and chatted with service-oriented companies and not for profits, and enjoyed continuous musical and dance performances around the library’s signature staircases.

For this “library junkie” who appreciates the Spanish author Jorge Luis Borges who once said “I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library,” I thought it was an evening in heaven, hobnobbing with patrons of the library and those fortunate enough to live in Sarasota. It’s also a wonderful fundraiser for the Friends who (among other things) seek to launch new programs and activities geared to the enrichment of the lives of children, teens, young adults, families and seniors. The fruits of their efforts are seen in the The Friends of Selby Library Bookstore (a virtual “Reading Wonderland”) that offers a variety of thousands of donated, low-priced books and media. More important, literacy is promoted by enabling many to enrich their lives via the rewards and joys of reading.

All proceeds of the $25 pp fundraiser benefit the Library, the bookstore and its new teen center (Friend-funded), and yearly programs for pre-teens and teens in our community. Nurturing the interests of our youth is critical in influencing them to be inspired about reading, learning and the vast resources of the library, one of the best in Florida’s southwest.

This reporter made her way around the venue and had delightful conversation with many vendors, including Sally Fernandez, author of “The Simon Tetralogy” – a series of four fictitious politically charged novels. She and her husband, Joe, divide their time between Sarasota and Italy. While there were many vendors who were highlighting books, the works of the late John. D. MacDonald was a particularly important one, as the national best selling author lived and wrote in Sarasota until his death in 1986. His 21-books included “Cape Fear” which was adapted into the film version. His mystery series were set in Florida and he influenced the work of Stephen King, who also makes his home in Casey Key.

Learning about new books and authors is just as exciting as learning about new foods and drinks, and Selby delivered in showcasing new vendors in the Sarasota area who launched new products. To whet my appetite, I sipped my first sample of “Booze Juice” by Annalida’s Gourmet Foods, a sophisticated medley of juice-infused cocktails. Turning to, I sampled the new Siesta Key-based distributors of raw, vegan and very healthy snacks. Who would have known I love beets so much? Who imagined that crunchy, tasteful gluten-free crackers could be made with the pulp of veggies from a juicer? Moving along the food chain, I sampled bites from Mattisons, Morton’s, PF Chang, Blue Rooster, Louie’s Modern, and a host of other notable establishments that make Sarasota one of the finest culinary experiences in Florida!

Sipping a cup of “Joe” from Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters to round out my meal, I realize that the theme of the event is “Crystal Ball” and I haven’t had my Tarot read. What’s in store for this journalist for 2016?

More visits to the Selby to be sure, and enrichment of my mind from the experience!

Picture Captions and Links:

Sarasota author Sally Fernandez (The Simon Trilogies) and her husband, Joseph.

Nutritious You founder Marina Sommers takes healthy eating to a new level with the new raw, vegan and organic bar in Siesta Key.


Become a volunteer or Patron of the Selby Library.

DURING THE PAST FISCAL YEAR Selby Friends has given to the Library:

  • More than 800 books and music materials valued at thousands of dollars
  • Over $15,000 in support of more than 100 free youth programs and events
  • Over $4,200 for the presentation of more than 60 free special events and programs for adults
  • Over $22,000 for the coordination, organization, orientation and support of Selby Library Volunteers
  • Over 400 free events for children

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