Stand-up Librarian Meredith Myers, right, interviewed St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin about the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair at St. Pete’s Mirror Lake Library. Myers released a series of videos where she interviewed local officials and business owners to promote the book fair.
ST. PETERSBURG – The 33rd annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair runs Friday, March 14 through Sunday, March 16 at the St. Petersburg Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N.
This book fair is the oldest and largest fair of its kind in the Southeastern United States, with dealers in books of every age and subject matter, antique maps, prints, autographs, ephemera and more.
As New Hampshire-based independent bookseller Richard Mori, an exhibitor at the book fair for over 15 years, puts it, the event is “books on steroids” and “one of the best book fairs in the country.”
A majority of the vendors, about 50 percent, Mori said, are members of the American Booksellers Association. This is the highest level of book dealers in the country.
The fair runs from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, March 14; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, March 15; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, March 16.
Cost is $10 for a three-day pass or $6 for Saturday or Sunday. Free admission for children under 12 and students with ID. Free parking.
Stand-up Librarian promotes Florida Antiquarian Book Fair
Stand-up Librarian Meredith Myers’ latest gig as spokesperson for this weekend’s 33rd annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair March 14-16 makes perfect sense.
The former celebrity publicist has a knack for promotions and fundraising, and her love of reading is unparalleled – after all, what other comedian has built their stand-up career around books?
The Boca Ciega High School grad’s eclectic career led her to comedy in 2002. Up until that point, she worked in radio and catering management, and was part of the team in place when Tropicana Field first opened.
“I’ve done so many things, it’s crazy,” Myers said.
Then she decided to head to New York in 2000 to realize her lifelong dream of becoming a celebrity publicist. She started out representing consumer goods, and sports teams and figures, and worked her way up to musicians and actors.
“I was a publicist for Whitney Houston during her whole ‘crack is whack’ interview,” Myers said. “I said to my boss, ‘I don’t think this is a good idea. I think she still has a drug problem.’ But she didn’t listen to me.”
Other artists she worked with included Diana Krall, Billy Gilman, and Oscar-nominee Jeremy Renner, and she also worked on the movie “X-Men 2.”
She started doing stand-up in 2002, using her life as a publicist to the stars as material.
“I was doing standup on side in addition to my PR career,” she said. “I thought it was a good way to get things off your chest without getting fired for them.”
In 2003, she wrote an off-off-Broadway show, “Like a Publicist” – “I always idolized Madonna,” she said.
“It wasn’t just about being funny,” she said. “I wanted to send a message, showing the machine behind how people got famous.”
She eventually came back to Florida, and her mother suggested she go to school to become a librarian.
“I just always loved reading,” Myers said. “I’ve always been a writer and I’ve always loved stories.”
She applied for the University of South Florida’s master’s program in library science and began taking courses online.
Not long after, in 2010, while still enrolled, she moved to Los Angeles, where she continued to do stand-up. She also got involved with fundraising for and promotion of the West Hollywood Library, and performed at several events leading up to its construction.
“It was one of the greatest joys of my life,” she said.
Myers returned to St. Petersburg again in 2012. Since then, she’s been focusing on her stand-up, encouraging literacy with her literary comedy shows, and, of course, promoting the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. She’s also launched Stand Up Librarian Designs, where she makes and sells book-themed accessories.