Winners announced in 17th annual Berks County Public Libraries awards celebration

Dreisbach Award for Exemplary Service—Renee Dietrich, Reading Public Library Trustee

Berks County Public Libraries held its 17th annual awards celebration 6:30 p.m. Feb. 27 at the system headquarters on Berks Road. The awards honored outstanding library services in addition to individuals and organizations in the community for their support and contributions to the advancement of libraries in Berks County.

Pictured from left are system administrator Amy Resh and Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt.

The award recipients from the 17th annual awards celebration are:

34 nominations from individuals and groups were submitted this year for consideration in categories such as Outstanding Local Business, Trustee of the Year, and the Dreisbach Award for Exemplary Service, among others. The Berks County Public Libraries Board of Directors selected category winners and presented the awards in front of an audience of nearly 60 people.

  • Dreisbach Award for Exemplary Service—Renee Dietrich, Reading Public Library Trustee
  • Trustee of the Year—Joanne Yoder, Kutztown Community Library
  • Outstanding Elected Official—Shawn Raup-Konsavage, Mayor of Bernville
  • Outstanding Library Director—Melissa Adams, Muhlenberg Community Library
  • Outstanding Community Organization—Northern Berks EMS
  • Outstanding Local Business—Snapology of Reading and Lancaster PA
  • Outstanding Fundraising Effort—Under a Spell at MCL, Muhlenberg Community Library
  • Outstanding Program—Explore Earth: Our Changing Planet, Muhlenberg Community Library
  • Linda Baer Friend of the Year—Dian Beamesderfer, Friend of the Womelsdorf Community Library
  • Chet Hagan Memorial Public Relations Award—Schuylkill Valley Community Library

For more information about each award and the 2018 recipients, visit

Berks Book Bonanza Returns to Berkshire Mall for 2019

FBerks Book Bonanza is pleased to announce that it will be returning to the Berkshire Mall for 2019. The annual used book sale will be held Thursday through Sunday, July 11th-14th, 2019 at a site to be determined in the Berkshire Mall.

Collections of gently-used books and materials will begin Monday, March 25th at the entrance next to Firehouse Subs. People wishing to donate materials for Book Bonanza can stop by Monday and Tuesday mornings from 9:30 a.m–12:00 noon or Wednesday evenings from 5:00–7:00 p.m. Volunteers will assist book donors with unloading vehicles during these times. Donations will be accepted up through June 26. A complete list of acceptable donations can be found on the Berks Book Bonanza website,

As preparations for the area’s largest book sale begin, shoppers will see the return of some familiar favorites.

In 2018, Ellen Smoll , general manager of the Berkshire Mall, threw out a lifeline to Book Bonanza and offered a collection and sale space for the homeless fundraiser. Grateful for the opportunity to have a sale, Book Bonanza made some necessary changes to accommodate the new area. When approached about bringing Book Bonanza back for 2019, Smoll generously offered to hold the sale at the Berkshire Mall once again and arranged for the sale to have the one thing it most desperately needed: more space.

For 2019, Book Bonanza will bring back the popular Thursday pre-sale opener for early bird shoppers. Also making another appearance: the holding and collectibles areas. Bulk shoppers will be able to store their items in the holding area as they continue to shop, while enthusiasts can browse through unique and hard-to-find local treasures in the collectibles area. As anticipated, the sale will be also offer a wide range of books, DVD’s, CD’s, games, and puzzles.

The 2019 Berks Book Bonanza sale will occur on the following dates:

–         Thursday, July 11 from 1:00 p.m.—4 p.m. ($10 Early Bird Presale)

–         Friday, July 12 from 9:00 a.m.—8:00 p.m.

–         Saturday, July 13 from 9:00 a.m.—7:00 p.m.

–         Sunday, July 14 from 11:00 a.m.—3:00 p.m. ($5 bag of books sale)

Reading Public Library to present “TechTacular,” a technology fair for all ages

Reading Public Library is holding its  “TechTacular” event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Main Library, 100 S. Fifth St.  Stop by to explore a variety of technology-related activities throughout the library.

Bring your smartphones, iPads, Kindles and more to the Reference Department and learn about the library’s free e-media resources and how to set them up on your device.

Visit the Teen Library Loft to learn about the library’s teen tech programs including Girls Who Code, a national coding sisterhood.

Play with a variety of TechiToys in the Children’s Library.

All ages are welcome. Pre-registration is not required and all activities are free.

Reading Public Library Northeast Branch to present program on Appalachian Trail trek

The Northeast Branch of Reading Public Library, 1348 N. 11th St., will present a program entitled “Tales from the Trail,” from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26.

Featured speaker Angelique Krohn, youth service coordinator at the library’s Northeast Branch and 2018 thru-hiker, will relate what it’s like to hike the entire 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail through 14 different states along America’s east coast.

A question-and-answer session will follow Angelique’s trail stories; light refreshments will be served.

The event is free of charge and pre-registration is not required.  For more information, call 610.655.6361.

ICYMI: Kutztown Community Library announces bus trip

On Tuesday, March 5, 2019, the Kutztown Community Library is sponsoring a bus trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show. This year’s theme is Flower Power and pays tribute to the enormous impact of flowers on our lives.

The cost is $80 per person and includes bus fare, driver’s tip and admission; lunch is NOT included.

For more information, call the library at 610.683.5820. The Kutztown Community Library is located at 70 Bieber Alley.

Reading Public Library to present program on the art of making comic books

Reading Public Library will present a program featuring local award-winning illustrator and graphic designer, Craig Schaffer discussing “The Art of Illustration” at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Main Library, 100 S. Fifth St., Reading.

Schaffer is a Berks County resident whose artwork appears in the Reading Eagle where he creates news graphics and writes on pop culture and comic books. He has recently published his first comic book, “Backdraft,” which includes a compilation of webcomic series and several short story Berks-centric comics.

The presentation will include prints of comic artwork, original pages and copies of “Backdraft,” “States of Terror Vol. II” and “Cartoon Picayune #7,” which will also be available for purchase.

The event is free of charge and pre-registration is not required. For more information, contact Ashly Roman at 610.655.6350 ext. 241.

Reading Public Library receives $20,000 BB&T Economic Growth Fund Grant

Pictured from left are Carey Babczak, vice president and business services officer, BB&T Branch Banking and Trust Company; Maureen Dolan, member, Reading Public Library Board of Trustees; Bronwen Gamble, executive director, Reading Public Library; David Roland, market president, Berks/Northern Montgomery Counties, BB&T Branch Banking and Trust Company.

Reading Public Library was awarded a $20,000 grant from the BB&T Economic Growth Fund of Berks County Community Foundation Friday, Jan. 11. BB&T representatives Carey Babczak and David Roland presented the check at Main Library to Board member, Maureen Dolan and Executive Director, Bronwen Gamble.

The funds will support the library’s entrepreneurial and workforce development programming including the continuation of the successful autumn entrepreneurial workshops. This four-session program provided a platform for the training and development of future Latino leadership through the acquisition of business development skills and networking opportunities.

In addition, the grant will support the Berks Job database on the library’s website and fund resume-writing and computer classes through the library’s computer lab and mobile technology vans.

Reading Public Library to present productivity enhancement workshop

Reading Public Library will host a productivity and performance-enhancement workshop entitled “Optimize your Time” from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan. 12, at the Main Library, 100 S. 5th St.

Adrean Turner, owner of Turner Coaching, Training, and Consulting, LLC, will host the program designed to encourage personal achievement. Using proven strategies from her book, “FIT for Success,” Adrean will share ways to increase self-awareness and set goals. Participants will develop a vision board and gain tools to excel in 2019.

The event is free of charge, and pre-registration is not required. For additional information, contact the Reading Public Library Reference Department at 610.655.6355.

Reading Public Library news

Reading Public Library receives gift to fund construction of learning and meeting commons

Reading Public Library announced today that a private donation has been received to fund the construction of a series of high tech meeting rooms on the first floor of the main library, 100 S. Fifth St.

The Reading Public Library “Learning and Meeting Commons” will consist of glass-enclosed meeting spaces of various sizes that will each include technology and furnishings designed to meet the flexible needs of our community’s diverse citizenry.

“This generous gift from Jerome I. Marcus will transform the Main Library into the 21st Century workforce development and collaborative learning center our residents want,” said RPL Executive Director Bronwen Gamble. “Andrew Carnegie’s library was designed to impress with its soaring spaces. More than 100 years later, we can thank Dr. Marcus for helping to create a vibrant community-centered library of today.”

Nancy Campbell, President of Reading Public Library’s Board of Trustees, characterized the gift as the largest designated donation ever received by the Library for a capital project.

“The amount and kind of activities that take place at RPL cannot be replicated in any other single structure,” Campbell said. “Reading Public Library offers services, programs and resources to patrons across the ages and stages of life. This very generous donation will help transform our building into a modern, technologically equipped, multi-use facility. A great library is a necessity for our citizens. In the words of Andrew Carnegie (whose donation in 1910 built our current structure), ‘A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.’ We are most fortunate to receive this gift.”

“The beauty of our society is that we value the genius of the individual as well as the genius of the group,” said donor Donor Jerome Marcus when asked about his desire to fund the construction. “This project facilitates that spirit of collaboration.”

The project is expected to begin in the first half of 2019.

For more information, call or email Linda Capozello, Director of Advancement and Communications, at 610.478.8977 or

Reading Public Library Southeast Branch closing temporarily

The Southeast Branch of Reading Public Library, 1426 Perkiomen Ave., will close temporarily until further notice. The HVAC system is being replaced, and there is no heat in the library.

We are disappointed about closing, but the health and safety of the staff and our patrons is most important. Patrons who have placed holds on materials to pick up at the Southeast Branch Library will be notified to choose a different location.

Call library administration with questions and concerns at 610.655.6365 or contact