Zzymzzy Quartet played at the library's annual  Local Authors Exhibit
  • Zzymzzy Quartet played at the library's annual Local Authors Exhibit
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For 47 years the downtown San Diego Public Library has invited local authors (both traditional and self-published) to submit their work and be recognized in a monthlong exhibit that kicks off with an authors’ reception.

On Friday, February 1, the public library treated authors to fresh fruit, cheeses, and avocado bruschetta, accompanied by sparkling apple cider. The Zzymzzy Quartet played music while authors received medals and had their pictures taken.

This year's event was the last one to be held in the library building at 820 E Street. The new library is expected to open in July 2013.

Library deputy director Misty Jones spoke to the guests, explaining that this was another record-breaking year, with 332 authors, 112 coauthors, and over 400 titles. Books ranged in scope from biography, fiction, and poetry to history and immigrant stories. A number of titles (more than last year) were also produced in ebook form.

The youngest writer to participate was nine years old; he entered his third published book this year.

The author of A Writer’s Book of Days and cofounder of San Diego Writer’s Ink, Judy Reeves, gave an inspirational talk about the importance of libraries and authors. She said that her career as a writer began in the third grade and her love of libraries spanned from then onward.

“And the generosity of the libraries,” Reeves said. “All of these books for us to borrow, for free. I tell you, nothing makes me feel richer than an abundance of books.”

Writers, Reeves said, are the observers. “We’re the ones who make sense out of mysteries, who make pain bearable, who make the world think, and consider and wonder and laugh at all of it in spite of it. The world needs us as much as the world needs food.”

The public library continues its local-author recognition throughout February with glass cases displaying their works in the lobby. An online gallery also presents 200 of these local authors. Each year after the exhibit ends, the public library keeps many of the authors’ donated copies for their general collection.

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