Evy Nordley Finalist Spotlight: Friends of the Ramsey Co. Library

Between now and the big Evy Nordley announcement on Oct. 8, we will take a moment to highlight each of the 2015 finalists and their exemplary Friends project or initiative. We welcome you to join us at MLA to learn more.

F. Scott Fitzgerald died 75 years ago, but the literary luminary and St. Paul native would have felt right at home last February at the Friends of the Ramsey Co. Libraries’ signature fundraising event: the Great Gatsby Gala. For the second time in as many years, over 200 flappers and fellas converged on the Roseville Public Library for this memorable night.

The Friends set an ambitious goal of $30,000 (up an even $10,000 from 2014). They came in almost exactly on target, thanks to diverse revenue streams built into their gala model. Moderately priced tickets and generous sponsorships from local organizations accounted for much of it, but other fundraiser activities were unique to the gala and its theme.

For instance, notes long-time Friend and volunteer Sue Gehrz, sales of 1920s-style hats and headbands alone contributed over $500 in revenue. Volunteers painstakingly crafted the headbands by hand and sold them both before and during the gala.

The literary theme also seeped into the fundraiser’s silent and live auction components, in the form of books and period pieces. In total, over 80 items and bundles were donated to the auction, in categories ranging from dining and sightseeing experiences, to original artwork, to sports memorabilia.

While the live auction was the highlight for some, dining, dancing and photoshoots anchored the night for others. Still others appreciated the chance to meet their local librarians, and to go on a guided tour of the Roseville Public Library.

The Friends of the Ramsey County Library were thrilled to see that this combination of activities and attractions – fine-tuned after the inaugural gala in 2014 – drew a mix of people of all ages. The gala also proved a regional happening. “Many attendees traveled not just from outside Ramsey County, but from outside the Twin Cities to be a part of it,” Gehrz said.

The $30,000 raised by the Friends will allow the Ramsey Co. Library to purchase 1,500 new items for collections in Maplewood, Mounds View, New Brighton, North St. Paul, Roseville, Shoreview, and White Bear Lake. (Please visit our blog for more details.)