At library gala, you can tell a book lover by attire

October 12, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

The Washington County Free Library was transformed into a mansion of the old South for a Saturday night gala, with some local residents dressed the part for the "Gone with the Wind"-themed event.

The event, "A Return to Tara," was the fourth annual Gala in the Stacks fund-raiser. Each year a different theme is selected for the fund-raiser. "Tara" is a reference to the plantation home in the classic movie.

Tickets were $75 each for the dinner event, which featured comments and book signings by authors Jim and Kate Lehrer, tarot card readings and individuals portraying such 19th-century literary figures as Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman.


The event was expected to raise about $20,000 for construction of new library branches in Smithsburg and Boonsboro, library Executive Director Mary Baykan said.

More than 200 people attended the event, the largest crowd yet for the fund-raiser, she said.

The fund-raiser is becoming one of the premier social events of the area, often talked about for months afterward, she said.

"I love it," Washington County Library Board President Michael Schaefer said. "It brings out the fun in people."

While some in attendance simply wore suits and formal dresses, others wore period clothing. Some wore Civil War uniforms.

Judith Ferro, president of the Smithsburg Library Board, came as Scarlett O'Hara, complete with a wig and hat. She liked the event because it is fun and is a good cause, she said.

Ed and Jane Drawbaugh of Hagerstown wore period clothing they borrowed from friends who are re-enactors, Jane Drawbaugh said. They were having fun at the event, which they were attending for the first time, and will probably return in future years, she said.

A crowd gathered in the children's book section of the library to hear remarks by the Lehrers.

In addition to anchoring and serving as executive editor of "The News-Hour with Jim Lehrer" on PBS, Jim Lehrer has written novels, memoirs and plays. His most recent work, "No Certain Rest," is a murder mystery based at Antietam National Battlefield.

Kate Lehrer has written three novels.

"We are here because we are library people," Lehrer said during introductory remarks. "Libraries are the lifeblood of the mind."

He thanked the audience for helping libraries financially.

"Thank you on behalf of people who read books and even those who write them," he said.

The Herald-Mail Co. co-sponsored this year's event.

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