More than 230 community members ‘Booked’ themselves at the much-anticipated EPLF fall event, and enjoyed a delightful evening of food, entertainment, and conviviality at the Valley River Inn on September 22. Booked for the Evening, the EPLF’s annual fundraiser, attracted many new friends and supporters as well as a core community of library-lovers with its steampunk theme this year.
In total, the fall fundraiser raised $62,313, allowing the Library to greatly expand its services and spaces for teens, in addition to supporting other crucial library programs.
As they enjoyed a glass of champagne, guests could be heard admiring the myriad artistic elements of the evening, from uniquely costumed guests to clever centerpieces (donated by Lane Forest Products), to creatively adorned steam trunks on offer at the silent auction (the contents of which were largely left to the imagination, adding an element of whimsy to an already whimsical evening). With music provided by the Arts and Technology Academy Jazz Band, as well as Eugene Opera’s Teen Opera camp, guests gravitated to the green screen photo booth, where they chose among steampunk-themed backgrounds to capture a memento of the evening. You can watch a brief video of the evening’s antics here.
Guests were also encouraged to make their way around the ballroom and visit various Maker stations that offered glimpses of quirky but compelling technology. This included everything from “vegetable” instruments that demonstrated auditory waves, to a 3-D-printed bust of Colt Gill, the event’s honorary chair and Oregon’s first Education Innovation Officer. Later in the evening, Gill gave a stirring speech about the resilience of teens and the power of libraries and education to empower them, sharing stories about students who have personally inspired him over the years. Watch an excerpt from the speech here!
Patrons were also given the opportunity to pay a quarter to get their fortunes told by the local King of Steampunk, Steve La Riccia. One library supporter was overheard asking the clairvoyant machine, “Will the library receive generous support tonight for its services?” In return, the answer – if somewhat unceremoniously spit out on a card – read: “If you wish it, it will come true.” Indeed, thanks to the generosity of its many patrons – – a special giving opportunity towards the end of the evening raised $26,250 for the Library’s new Teen Center, including a $5,000 gift from David and Paula Pottinger. Thanks to all the phenomenal donors who attended and who support our wonderful library.