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Enjoying a 'Novel Evening for Literacy'

PLATTSBURGH - Literacy Volunteers of Clinton County is trying something new and the organization is hoping it will create excitement in the community.

The nonprofit organization, which provides free one-to-one tutoring for people in Clinton County who look to improve their literacy skills, will host "A Novel Evening for Literacy" Thursday, Jan. 20, at Koffee Kat, 104 Margaret St.

The event, explained LVCC representative Arthur Menard, will feature readings from award-winning authors Kate Messner and Bonnie Shimko.

"This is the first time for us," Menard said of hosting the event. "Literacy Volunteers of Essex/Franklin Counties has done these for years and they're quite popular. It's not a huge fundraiser but it's good for awareness."

Admission to the event will be donation-based, with the intent of raising money for LVCC, which has been struggling due to a reduction in state funding over the past two years, said Menard.

"We've lost over $20,000," he said. "We've had to tighten our belt and cut back in some areas, so we've been looking for new ways to raise the money we need."

And this one, which Menard credited to LVCC board president Jerry McGovern for pursuing, is one Menard is excited about.

"This is going to be great," he said. "I'm hoping it's going to be a fun evening for supporters of literacy and also for not just adults, but families, too."

Messner, who will read from her most recent work, "Sugar and Ice," said she is looking forward to the event as well.

"I was thrilled when Literacy Volunteers got in touch with me to see if I'd be interested in participating in this event," she said. "I'm a teacher as well as an author, so I know how important it is for families to have opportunities to come together to celebrate books and reading, and I'd love to see our community doing more to foster family literacy."

Messner - who will be joined by Shimko reading from her recently-published works "Letters in the Attic," "Kat's Promise," and "The Private Thoughts of Amelia E. Rye." - said events like this are key.

"Reading together at home and talking about books can do so much to help kids become competent, passionate, lifelong readers," she said.

A Novel Evening for Literacy will begin at 7 p.m. Copies of Messner's and Shimko's books will be available for sale and signing.

For more information, call Literacy Volunteers of Clinton County at 564-5332 or e-mail literacyvolunteer@gmail.com.

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