ALTON - The second annual Local Author Book Fair is the next event coming up at the Hayner Public Library in Alton, but several more are planned throughout December. Executive Director Mary Cordes recently shared more about these upcoming events and the Local Author Book Fair slated for Dec. 9, 2023.

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“This year we have 30 authors, which is more than we had last year - we had 25 last year,” Cordes said. “We’ve got a lot of really great local authors, and what we want to do is showcase that."

This year’s event is going to be held at the Alton Square Mall location of the Hayner Library, and Cordes said she and others will be just outside the library in the courtyard between the library and JCPenny.

“Support your local authors. You can buy their books, talk with them , you can get your book autographed,” she said. “We’re conveniently located right next to the gift wrapping station, so you can take it right over and the Alton Community [Service League] is going to be wrapping presents.

“You can also do library card sign-up, we’re going to have a table with kids’ crafts and childrens’ storytimes. It’s also like a Library Open House - come and see what the library has to offer.”

Cordes said there will be demonstrations of some of the services available at the library, such as the Library of Things, which offers several gadgets, games, electronics, and more available to check out for free with a Hayner Library card. If you don’t have one, you can also register for a card right there at the event.

She added they’ll also be teaching visitors about e-books, library computer systems, and more. Frosty the Snowman will also be there for the kids, and Cordes said the Alton Square Mall location gives visitors a chance to support other local businesses like the Cookie Factory while they’re there.

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The Local Author Book Fair is far from the only event on the Hayner Library agenda for December. The library’s Holiday Memory Café is coming up on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., also at the library’s Alton Square Mall location. Cordes described the event as “a comfortable and welcoming place for people experiencing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.”

“[It’s] for them to come in and also for their family members to come in and just talk with each other, we’re going to have activities, and it’s a winter theme,” Cordes said. “It’s our first one. We’re going to do one in December and then we’re going to do one in February.

“If you’re a caregiver, it’s tough, and we wanted a place for other caregivers to meet with each other and just have a sounding board … we’re hoping that people can just meet each other and realize you’re not alone in dealing with this.”

The Holiday Memory Café will also feature “memory crafts,” which Cordes said may help with memory function while also participating in arts and crafts. There will also be snacks and information on the resources available on how to care for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Also coming up in December is the Hayner Library’s X’s and Sews Crafting Program, which is being held on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023 and Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023, both from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Alton Square Mall location. Cordes said attendees can bring their own crafts, and they’ll provide the crafting space.

“You bring your craft stuff, so if you have any kind of portable craft - anything from woodworking to sewing to knitting to painting, whatever - we provide the space,” she said. “We have hot tea, coffee, and we have big work tables, you bring your stuff in, it gives you a solid [hour and a half] to work on it and you can meet other people that are also doing that kind of thing, just network with each other and maybe share supplies, that kind of thing.”

To find out more about the events and services offered by Hayner Public Library, visit their Facebook page or website at haynerlibrary.org.

For more information about this year’s Local Author Book Fair and even more events happening this December, check out the full first-ever “Beyond The Shelves” segment at the top of this story or on Riverbender.com/video. Catch future segments, including a special Christmas episode, live on the first and last Monday of every month on Riverbender.com/dailyshow.

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