MEMBERS OF the Friends of the Library (FOL) hosted the “Last Gala” event at the Fayetteville- Lincoln County Public Library (FLCPL) on Feb. 26, to pay off the debt on the facility.
FOL, a volunteer group of citizens who support the city-county library in a variety of ways, held a live and silent auction during the event. The live auction served as one’s traditional shout-out auction while the silent auction was conducted via paper bid sheets. Meghan Murr, director of the FLCPL, said over 100 people attended the gala. Over $20,000 was raised after expenses.
The FOL was created in 2011, designed to help pay off the library’s share of the facility costs. Murr said the costs were split three ways among the county, city, and library. Since 2011, the FOL has been working hard to raise $1 million through its fundraiser events, hosting these fundraisers almost every year. Currently, the volunteer group consists of six board members.
Aimee Byrd, president of the FOL, said this year’s event took six months to plan. She said the planning process was tricky due to COVID-19, which forced the group to meet primarily on Zoom and limited their in-person gatherings to two meetings that occurred a couple of weeks leading up to the gala.
“It’s been an adjustment trying to figure everything out and how to plan things over Zoom,” Byrd said. “We focused on each board member being responsible for a specific portion of the event, and we had to rely on each other to get things accomplished outside of meeting in person.”
Murr and Byrd said the items sold at the auctions were donated by businesses: flower subscriptions, overnight stays at local Airbnbs, sunglasses, dinner and tea parties, jewelry, a day downtown, massages, a photography session, a facial session, a day in Lynchburg, gift baskets, and more.
“We have so many wonderful businesses around our community that donated items to the auction, which was a huge, huge, huge part of the fundraising event,” Murr said. “Without the people in the community that donated all of these items, the amount of money that was raised certainly would not be possible.”
Murr said the people of the FLCPL are also grateful for everything the FOL has done for the library. Byrd said the group is happy to have finally met its goal.
“It’s a huge relief,” Byrd said. “It takes the pressure off because when we’re planning these events, our main goal is to fundraise as much as we possibly can, and now it just feels like the load is lighter. Through the success of our events, the $1 million debt is gone, and now we can refocus our attention on smaller projects. We are always looking for new board members who are eager to make a difference in our community, especially to support this wonderful resource that we have in our community.”
Despite the event being coined the “Last Gala,” future galas may be underway. Byrd said thanks to a challenge issued by Charles Gleghorn, a resident of Fayetteville and supporter of FOL endeavors, the FOL’s next goal will probably be to remodel the library basement into a community space. The basement will become a storage for the library and a place for citizens of Lincoln County to rent for events. Byrd said this project is not as lofty a goal as the previous one. However, the group will probably take a break from the gala next year to regroup. -GN