Loretta Beavers brought a chocolate rum raisin cake. Diane Harrison brought allergen-free double chocolate cookies. Mother and daughter Marcia and Alicia Thorndike brought spicy mixed vegan beans. In spite of the rain showers pouring down on the evening of March 31, many friends and volunteers of the library showed up for the Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends’ Sixth Annual Chocolate Party and Grant Event at the Central Park Library, and they came bearing appetizers and chocolate treats.
“We are here to fund various requests from the library staff and volunteers,” says Jim Lyons, president of SCCLFF. “We have $30,000 to distribute to various programs and services supporting the community.”
Lyons acknowledged a number of generous library donors, including White Trust, Kaiser Permanente, KeyPoint Credit Union, and Ray Edinger.
“This chocolate party is an opportunity for library staff to put forth their wish list of items and projects they’d like to have paid for,” adds Tracy Wingrove, associate executive director of the foundation. “Volunteers and foundation members have a chance to vote on their favorite items.”
Morgan Rose Pershing, reference librarian, pitched for the replacement of dog-eared paperback books, new paperback spinning racks, and the purchase of a hundred copies of popular classics for academic use. Shanti Bhaskaran, literacy program supervisor, advocated for funds to enable the subscription of a newspaper for the library’s ESL Club and the sponsorship of family literacy events at local shelters. Mary Hanel, local history librarian, requested funds to microfilm vintage scrapbooks of the Santa Clara Fire Department and old issues of Santa Clara Vision, a discontinued newspaper published from August 1997 to January 1999. Erin Ulrich, program coordinator of youth services, wanted money for Barnes & Noble gift cards for this year’s TeenRead Summer Reading Program, award books for children who complete the Summer Reading Program, and new children’s DVDs. These were the nine proposals party attendees voted to allocate funds for, much to the joy of the staff members who promoted them.
Although not all the grant requests were approved, each library staff member who presented offered thoughtful reasoning to support their cause.
Mary Boyle, adult services librarian, sought funds to invite bestselling authors to the library.
“People want intellectual stimulation; author programs encourage reading and lifelong learning,” Boyle says.
Pershing also requested funds to pay for promotional features in this year’s adult summer reading program.
“Our adult summer reading program gets bigger every year, and last year, [our numbers] even surpassed the teens,” Pershing says.
Perhaps such well-intended proposals would be reintroduced and approved at next year’s chocolate party.