Here to Help, Springfield

Books & Brew boasts ‘best year yet’

Patrons participate in a paddle raise during the ninth annual Books & Brew fundraiser hosted by the Springfield Public Library Foundation on Jan. 24 to donate money to the library. Photo provided/Don Gustavson

SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield Public Library is like the community’s living room, according to Springfield Public Library Foundation President Sheryl Eyster. This makes the library’s annual Books & Brew event so unique; instead of a formal dinner party, patrons can socialize between the book stacks and even have an opportunity to play beer pong with elected officials such as Peter DeFazio.
The ninth annual Books & Brew fundraiser hosted by the SPLF took place Jan. 24, entertained over 200 people and raised around $45,000 for the library – the most the foundation has ever raised during the event.
”It was the best year ever,” Eyster said. ”The event was truly a success.”
Tickets sold out prior to the event, and guests still came to the door, she said. The event was at capacity with all their sponsors in attendance.
The event was emceed by Dan Hurley and Dan Egan, and featured live music from local band Butterchuck, as well as multiple games such as Wordology and guessing the number of books in the library (90,000, not counting the books checked out.)
There were also silent and live auctions, with packages donated from the community. Some of the items included a limo package from My Party Bus, a wine-tasting tour, art, handmade items and gift cards from local businesses and restaurants.
The live auction, with auctioneer Sid Voorhees, was the event’s first; auction items included a weekend at the coast and a whitewater rafting trip.
Patrons also had an opportunity to donate money during the paddle raise.
The event was catered by Carte Blanche, and the alcohol was sponsored by Plank Town and Hayworth Estate Wines.
”It was special and fun because it’s a social event,” SPLF Board volunteer Christina San Filippo said. ”It’s not a formal dinner party. Everyone is free to roam the library and chat with friends. It’s very casual, relaxed and fun.”
During the event, Library Director Emily David also talked about the importance of the library and what it brings to the community, and how this funding goes a long way.
”It’s very important because we’re really dependent on the funds the Foundation raises because it provides the wide variety of programming that we do,” she said.
Last year, the library had over 500 programs for community members to take part in. This funding also helps the library as digital materials have become more popular.
”Print circulation has not declined, so we need to purchase items in different formats with the same budget,” she explained, adding that without the Foundation’s fundraising, ”That’s impossible.”
San Filippo added that the library is a truly open and inclusive space for people of all walks of life: people looking for jobs, families with small kids and everyone in-between.
”Libraries are important and a vital part of the community,” she said.
Eyster added that the library brings resources to help kids and lifelong learners, and that this fundraiser is important to help increase services and programs that the community has been asking for.
”My favorite part of the event was the sense of community,” Eyster said. ”It’s unusual because we’re raising money, but we’re fundraising to bring people who care about the library and the city together for a common cause.”



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