Seven Mile Times

Memorial Day 2019

Summer Bookings:
Avalon Library Offers Full Slate of Fun, Culture & Discovery

By Mary Byrne Lamb

The Avalon Free Public Library will be bursting with more than books in the summer of 2019. While you can still check out that steamy beach read or suspenseful spy thriller, you’ll also discover lively music, fascinating speakers, local history, and loads of interactive fun programs for every member of the family. Here is sneak peek beyond the bookshelves at the Avalon Free Public Library this summer.



A centerpiece of summer programming at the library, the Summer Author Series brings writers from near and far to share their inspiration and insights with the audience. “Our lineup this year includes several tried-and-true favorites, as well as newcomers that we are excited about,” says program coordinator Linda Duffy. “We book a variety of authors so that there is something for everyone. It is so nice to see readers attend talks by their favorite authors to learn more and participate in a book signing.”


Amor Towles


Kicking things off on July 10 at 7pm is an evening with New York Times Best Seller author Amor Towles. “We are thrilled to host Amor Towles this summer as many patrons have enjoyed reading his novels, ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ and ‘Rules of Civility,’ ” says Duffy. “We look forward to learning more about his writing process and seeing his characters come to life on the screen in the upcoming TV series based on ‘A Gentleman in Moscow.’ ”


Filling out the rest of the summer slate, the following authors will cover an array of topics, writing styles and genres. The Author Series is held every Wednesday at 6pm in July and August. No tickets or registration required.


July 17: Jamie Brenner, a USA Today best-selling author of summertime beach reads and suburban Philadelphia native, will discuss her recently released fourth book, “Drawing Home.”


July 24: Frank Langfitt returns to the Avalon Library to talk about his nonfiction work, “The Shanghai Free Taxi: Journeys with the Hustlers and Rebels of the New China.” A London NPR correspondent, Langfitt draws from his experience covering Shanghai from 2011 to 2016, when he drove a free taxi around the city for a series on a changing China as seen through the eyes of ordinary people.


July 31: Meg Donohue, a local favorite and popular speaker at the library, will discuss her career and her recently published “You, Me, and the Sea.” A reimagining of “Wuthering Heights,” the book has been named among “12 Fiction Reads Every Book Club Will Love in 2019” by Parade magazine.


Jamie Brenner


Aug. 7: Martin E. Smith will bring a sports angle to the author series when he discusses his nonfiction book, “Philadelphia Big 5,” which traces the origin, history and legends behind the informal basketball league formed in 1955 that includes five of the area’s most prestigious colleges: LaSalle, Temple, Saint Joseph’s, Villanova and Penn.


Aug. 14: Frank Watson returns to the Avalon Library with his latest book, “Massacre at Duffy’s Cut: Tragedy & Conspiracy on the Pennsylvania Railroad,” which he co-authored with his brother William. The book details the brothers’ incredible investigation into the dark fate of a group of Irish immigrant workers who worked on the Duffy’s Cut section of railroad, which is situated in modern-day Malvern, Pa.


Aug. 21: Christine Scarpa, a lifelong Cape May County resident, will discuss her first novel, “One Loose String.” The romantic tale is inspired by Scarpa’s childhood summers spent at the beach – especially her family’s motel business, Sans Souci Motel, once a landmark in North Wildwood.



While playgrounds and water parks are full of fun slides, there is one slide that is better to avoid in the summer. The “summer slide” is a decline in reading skills that often occurs to school-age children during the summer months. Numerous studies have shown that kids who don’t read over the summer slip in their abilities by the time the new school year begins. To help avoid the summer slide, the Avalon Library is once again offering a Summer Reading Program to make reading accessible and fun for kids of all ages.




To participate, readers only need to go to the library and register. Then each week they return to the library with their reading log to receive a prize. There are no minimum or maximum reading requirements or time commitments.


To support the summer reading program, the library will host educational and engaging weekly events. Held on Monday Fundays every (you guessed it) Monday morning at 10am from June 24 to Aug. 26, these interactive programs will include Book Bingo, arts & crafts, a performance by the always-popular ScienceTellers, and a program by the folks from the Franklin Institute. Additionally, an Ice Cream Social on Aug. 16, with ice cream from Avalon’s popular Sundae Best and a high-energy show from Zoom Balloons, will celebrate the summer reading program participants.


Zoom Balloons


In addition to the Monday Funday events, the library is also hosting two more summer-only programs for kids. Builders of all skill levels are encouraged to attend the weekly LEGO Club every Wednesday at 10am, and gamers won’t want to miss opportunities to play the Nintendo Switch on the big screen during Video Game Days every Friday at 11am.


For older kids, Teen Tuesdays will offer a unique set of programs geared specifically to teen interests. Held every Tuesday at 11am, the events include an escape room, book talks and giveaways, art workshops, and open-mic nights (held at a special 6pm time) with Chris Nagle from WIBG-FM.



The library’s strong partnership with the Bay Atlantic Symphony will once again bring the sweet sounds of classical music to the shore. “We are delighted to continue facilitating cultural experiences for our patrons by hosting the Bay Atlantic Symphony for two concerts this summer in the 13th season of ‘Symphony by the Sea,’ ” says library director Erin Brown.


Bay Atlantic Symphony performance


On July 20 at 7pm, the symphony’s first performance, “Friendship and Love,” will feature pieces including Elgar’s “Enigma Variations,” Borodin’s “Nocturne,” and in a slight departure – a tribute to Frank Sinatra. The second show, “Passion and Fire,” will be on Aug. 17 at 7pm and will feature Schumann’s “Cello Concerto” and Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major Op. 55.” No tickets or registration required.



The shore is full of interesting history and the library, along with the Avalon History Center, will offer some interesting programs to explore it this summer. One highlight will certainly be the “Early Avalon Walking Tours” on July 2 and

July 30 at 6pm. These strolls through Avalon’s north end will explore Victorian architecture and the history of some of Avalon’s landmark buildings. Additionally, the popular Summer History Lectures will “mark momentous happenings on both the local and national stage,” says History Center director Nina Ranalli. The two-part series includes the “Shipwrecks of the Jersey Shore” lecture on July 16 at 6pm and the “Women’s Suffrage in New Jersey” lecture on Aug. 13 at 6pm.



While everyone would like summer to be “all play” and “no work,” that is sometimes impossible. So, the library offers a variety of business services to support patrons’ needs.


“We hope the business resources at the Avalon Library are helpful, so that visitors can complete tasks and get back to the beach,” says library director Erin Brown. To that end, the library offers copy, scan, print and fax services, Wi-Fi hot-spot loans, public PCs, as well as tech help for troubleshooting computer or phone issues.


Additionally, the tech department is offering workshops throughout the summer on topics such as social media, smart home tech, LinkedIn, Google and much more.


The Avalon Free Public Library has extended hours throughout the summer, 9am-8pm Monday through Friday and 9am-5pm on weekends. Whether you’re looking for culture, art, history, kids’ programs, family fun, music, business services, tech help, or simply a good book to read – you can find it at the Avalon library this summer.


For more information about these and other library events and programs call 609-967-7155 or visit

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