Tuesday, May 22 , 2018, 5:44 am | Fair 51º


Judy Foreman: Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation Gala Is One for the Books

Cocktails & Culture celebrates Central Library centennial with a serious mission of funding future digital upgrades and Children’s Library endowment


Lovers of literacy and libraries gathered last week at one of Santa Barbara’s most distinguished landmarks — the Central Library downtown — to celebrate its centennial.

The Nov. 4 gala — “Cocktails & Culture, a Centennial Celebration” — attracted more than 300 guests to the library at 40 E. Anapamu St.

Hosted by the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation, the evening aimed to encourage guests to tour the updated Central Library to learn about its many outstanding programs and what an important community resource it is.

As part of the program, each guest was given a “Passport to the Library” for various stops around the building, including the technology lab and the Children’s Library, a treasure trove for parents and grandparents.

Guests who filled up their passport pages received a limited edition bookplate by renowned illustrator David Wiesner at the Friends of the Library table.

Serious schmoozing and noshing took place over delicious hors d’oeuvres, which included literary-themed food and libations, such as Gin Eyre, The Last of the Mojitos, Cuba Libra Paradiso and Rum also Rises Sour.

Wines were provided by Rusack Vineyards, and Black Lab from Los Angeles handled the mixology for the cocktails.

The beautiful food stations were prepared by Kathleen Sacchi of The Fine Art of Events. Sacchi worked with Zora Charles to design and deliver a unique experience.

Hogue & Co. choreographed the ambience with linen, flowers and candles that transformed the library to its majestic grandeur, with Janice Blair providing the calligraphy on the buffet.

Also on the menu were Sue Moore’s Let’s Be Frank 100 percent grass-fed beef franks and spicy hot dogs with all the fixings. Brass Bear Brewing provided superb and unique beers, Papa’s Pilar Rum added a rum station, and sweet dessert tastings with Caffè​ Gilli coffee completed the evening. All the stations were accompanied by whimsical books to complement the theme of the food.

Library director Jessica Cadiente told the guests that “we are preparing ourselves for the 21st century,” with access to digital resources and digital literacy skills now required for full participation in today’s society.

Last year, the library provided more than 300,000 computer sessions and more than 1,500 one-on-one computer coaching sessions.”

State Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson, Rep. Salud Carbajal and his predecessor, former Rep. Lois Capps, all Santa Barbara Democrats, handed out honors to the library leadership and described what libraries meant to them growing up.

Foundation director Ellen Pasternack outlined capital campaign goals, which include the repair of the Anapamu and Faulkner Doors, designing a Teen Center, reopening an outdoor second-floor patio, fully funding a Children’s Library endowment and refurbishing the Library Plaza, a project that already is under construction.

“We are less about building collections and more about building connections!” she said.

The Centennial Cocktail Party Committee was co-chaired by dynamic community literacy advocate Zora Charles and her co-chairwomen, Dianne Duva and Katie Szopa. Their committee also included volunteers Sharon Bradford, Susan Case, Sallie Coughlin, Emily Engel, Diana Larson, Kristan O’Donnell and Ellen Pasternack, along with Library Foundation director Kendall Pata, adult literacy program coordinator Bev Schwartzberg and community relations librarian Jace Turner.

The Library Foundation, which is not yet 5 years old, already has raised more than $4.5 million for the Children’s Library and established a $1.1 million endowment of it. Foundation sources say the gala brought in more than $150,000 in additional funds.

Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation. Click here to make an online donation.

— Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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