BOONSBORO, Md.—Books by John Grisham, Clive Cussler and Mary Higgins Clark are common enough to find on library shelves, but Friday night at the Boonsboro branch of the Washington County Free Library, signed copies of tomes by those and other popular authors were displayed for sale, not to be checked out.
The First Edition Fundraiser was held to benefit "Building Our Great Good Place," the capital campaign to raise money for the new library in downtown Hagerstown, said Mary C. Baykan, director of the library system. About 50 people came by to bid on autographed copies, many of them first editions, she said.
Bidders also could hear from local authors Gail Barrett, Lauren Carr, Susan Donovan and Tim Rowland to get some insight on how a story goes from brain to page.
"Honestly, I sit at a computer all day and think about people who don't exist," said Barrett, whose titles include "The Royal Affair" and "High-Risk Reunion."
"You're supposed to write about what you know," said Barrett, so the heroine of her first book was a high school teacher, her former profession. However, there are things in life that one does not want to experience firsthand — she mentioned airplane crashes — so the information that can be mined from libraries and the Internet is invaluable, she said.
Jami Geary of Boonsboro was eying books for possible auction bids, including "Carrot Cake Murder" by Joanne Fluke.
"I'm looking for Christmas presents," said Laura Schnackenberg, also of Boonsboro. She thought a book by Boonsboro author Nora Roberts would be a good choice.
Pat Wishard, public relations and marketing librarian, said about 80 books were contributed to the First Edition Fundraiser by authors. Adventure novelist and marine archaeologist Cussler sent along an autographed photo to go with a signed book.
David Hanlin, development coordinator for the capital campaign, said the library system's goal is to raise $3 million to replace the old library in Hagerstown with what will be called the Alice Virginia & David Fletcher Branch Library at 100 S. Potomac St. The capital campaign has raised about $2 million so far, he said.
"They were very quiet philanthropists in Washington County" and Alice Fletcher once lived at the site where the library is under construction, Hanlin said. Much of the $24 million for the new library is coming from the state and county, he said.
"All successful urban areas have to have a common place where people can come together," Hanlin said. The new library can serve that purpose in Hagerstown, he said.