Librarian and local author debuts book of poetry at the Reading Public Library

Reading librarian Sharice Towles recently celebrated the release of her debut book of poetry titled “While I Was Watching The Sun” with a book launch event and live reading hosted at the Reading Public Library.

While I Was Watching The Sun is Towles’ first book, published by independent publisher, SDJ Press. The collection features twenty-three original poems about life, love and rebirth. During the book launch event, Towles signed copies of the book, read poetry from the collection, and hosted a Q&A session.

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Towles has been working at the Reading Public Library for 9 years, currently working as the interlibrary loan coordinator.

With a passion for writing, Towles says she uses poetry as an outlet to help her get through tough times. “When the pandemic hit, so many people were protesting, artists were creating and talking about local news, police victimizing black people. That, in addition with my own personal struggles, I felt strongly enough to put all of my pieces together and speak to others” said Towles.

Years in the making, Towles began writing poems in 2015, but it wasn’t until 2020 that she decided a book would be the best format to convey her message. “Many of the pieces were written over the past few years, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that I really focused on writing” Towles said.

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Founder of SDJ Press, David Nazario, said he and Towles started the publishing process in August with formatting, photos, and cover artwork.

Towles Takes pictures with friends in front of a large poster of her book cover.

In the spirit of local collaboration, the book’s cover design and interior graphics were created by Kutztown University student and Reading Senior High School alumna, Idalmi Rivera. “Idalmi did a fantastic job. She read the poetry and listened to the ideas we had. We are in love with the cover and have received lots of good feedback” Nazario said.

Excited about the launch of her first book, Towles hopes it can inspire others. “I just hope everybody, even if it doesn’t relate to exactly what your going through, just feels the courage to share what’s in their heart.”

While I Was Watching The Sun is available to barrow at the Reading Public Library, Reading Branch, or for purchase by contacting Sharice Towles by email: or on Instagram at @whileiwaswatchingwhesun.

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Jason Hugg
Jason Hugg
Editor and photographer at Berks Weekly.
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