The Toledo-Lucas County Public Library will mark its 175th anniversary with a gala on Saturday at the Main Library.
The black tie-optional event is presented by the LaValley Foundation and the Library Legacy Foundation. The night will kick off with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m. in the library's central court. Guests may enjoy a five-star dinner at 7:30 p.m. in the Winter Garden, where two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough will deliver the keynote speech. The event will include performances by the Toledo Opera and the Toledo Ballet.
The celebration continues Sept. 8 with “Rockin' the Rooftop for Young Professionals,” an event during which those 40 and under may mingle in cocktail casual attire on the Main Library's rooftop garden.
Scheduled for 6 to 10 p.m., activities include the musical stylings of the Kentucky Chrome band, as well as art demonstrations by Mede, a graffiti artist, and Matt Taylor, who paints murals. Guests may purchase art and sample cuisine from Poco Piatti, a Mediterranean restaurant in Perrysburg.
Tickets are no longer available for the gala. They are available for the Sept. 8 event and can be purchased online at toledolibrary.org for $20 per person.
Different branches of the library have had their own ways of observing the 175th. During April's National Library Week, each branch conducted a drawing in which winners received grocery bags filled with free books from the Friends of the Library, said Main Library Manager Meg Delaney.
On April 14, the first day of National Library Week, Main Library officials displayed a video featuring historic and contemporary photos of the library and its branches, Ms. Delaney said. The Main Library also had a cake-cutting ceremony and a puppet show starring the Stevens Puppets.
Other library week events celebrating the 175th anniversary included a reading program with milk and cookies at the Mott Branch, a party in Sylvania themed after PBS kids program Martha Speaks, and more.
On June 24 — the 175th day of the year — the library and its Sunday branches served birthday cake. Librarians distributed birthday cards in which readers expressed why they enjoyed the library, Ms. Delaney said.
All proceeds raised from the Sept. 7 gala event will benefit the Library Legacy Foundation's Early Literacy Fund, said Kathryn Fell, the library's development coordinator. The fund will provide money for a program that will be launched this fall, in which two librarians will teach parents how to prepare their children for kindergarten.
“We know that nearly a third of the children in the Toledo area enter kindergarten not ready to read and write,” Ms. Fell said. “[These children] need to learn literacy skills so they can enter school ready to learn and succeed.”
Library officials hope to raise a total $2.2 million for the project, Ms. Fell said. The gala alone, she added, will hopefully raise more than $40,000.