This Friday: a black-and-white party for the books
blog by Ben Kirst • November 14, 2012 @ 10:52am
If you grew up as a book nerd, like me, then you have fond memories of spending countless hours immersed in books from your local library. One of the roof-raising moments of my youth was taking home top honors in the Dunkirk Free Library summer reading contest as a young lad—I like to think that there is still a copy of Arthur’s Christmas with my name glued inside the front cover on the shelves in the children’s section commemorating that big win.
Now, as grown-ups in the big city, we have the opportunity to help make sure that Arthur and others are available to the youth of today—as well as computer training, career resources, historical artifacts, services for senior citizens and the dozens of other programs and projects supported by the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system. At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, the Young Professionals Committee of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library will host What’s Black and White and Red All Over…A Party at Hotel Lafayette!, a charitable shindig meant to “...assist in raising funds for the many free services and materials including books for children, teens and adults that have suffered funding cuts in the last two years.”
Tickets aren’t cheap—they’re a healthy $75 (which is probably what you still owe from that book you lost in high school that you insisted you “returned”)—but it includes all-you-can-eat and drink privileges as well as valet parking at the Hotel Lafayette (391 Washington St., Buffalo). There will also be a silent auction, a wine wall, gift baskets and more. You can purchase admission passes online. You must be 21 or older to attend.
Important sartorial note—despite what the title of the event may inadvertently imply, this is not a black-tie event. This does not mean that it is good form to roll into the hotel in your classiest track suit. Plan to dress sharp for the event, and guests are encouraged to wear variations of black, white and red.
The county library system got a bit of good news in October when County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s proposed 2013 budget returned funding to its 2010 level. However, the additional monies were the result of a recommended 3.4 percent tax hike, and any new funding was going to require even more taxpayer cash, according to The Buffalo News:
Poloncarz, a Democrat, campaigned on the need to restore library funding that had been cut by his predecessor, Chris Collins, and he did that. The plan returns the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library to $22.17 million, the same level it received in 2010 and, while it is significantly less than what the library sought, it represents at least a fair start. And more money for the libraries would require an even higher tax increase.
In other words, the library system is getting the foot removed from its chest, but it’s not exactly floating down the river on a boat made of $100-bills. For the city and county libraries to continue to survive—and, presumably, thrive—support outside of the executive budget is going to need to come from people who care about the mission of the organization.
If you believe that the people of Erie County deserve a top-notch library system, there are worse ways to show it than lifting a glass at the Hotel Lafayette.