PERRY TWP.  Brookside Country Club had a packed house on April 5 with hundreds of library supporters attending the annual fundraiser for the Stark Library Foundation. In addition to all of the people coming out to help support the foundation, there were many famous authors attending the Literary Legends fundraiser.

It may be better to say many want-to-be famous authors were strolling through the crowd and speaking with supporters. Students from Kent State University at Stark dressed up as well-known authors of some of the most read classics including Ernest Hemingway (Spencer Morgan), Jane Austin (Victoria Wamsley), Mark Twain (Robert Trushel), Maya Angelo (Shamara Costa), Edgar Allen Poe (Reis Rankin), William Shakespeare (Morgan Brown) and Dr. Seuss (Jimmy Schindewolf). Guests were also encouraged to come dressed as their favorite author.

The fundraiser is in its 10th year. Director of Development and event chair Paula Mastroianni said this was the third year the foundation has held a smart party that has a theme and is a bit more upscale for the fundraiser.

“We’ve had it here at Brookside for the past three years and with a different theme each year,” Mastroianni said. “Three years ago it was a Beetles theme, then we had a Geeks and Gizmos theme with 3D printers and other technology and this year it is the Literary Legends. All proceeds go to the foundation to help support the library for programs and technology.”

Mastroianni said that the fundraising goal for the evening was $85,000 and said the event has raised as much as $125,000 in past years. There were 140 people attending this year with $34,000 raised in sponsorships.

The money will go to three areas including creating a new maker space area in the downtown library and possibly at the Plain Township branch. Funds will also help with the summer reading programs for kids. And, a portion will go to reimage the way people use the library with such programs as no overdue fines policy, the BikeSmart program, passport services and school partnerships among others.

In addition to the dinner, there were activities to help raise money such as a $50 x 200 raffle, a wine pull, a live auction of donated items, a specialty drink called Star-Crossed Lover’s (Romeo and Juliet) Spritzer and the ever-popular Dessert Dash.   

“We started a dessert dash last year and everyone loved it, so we are hosting it again this evening,” Mastroianni said. “Each table will work to bid as a group and the highest bidding table will be called on to dash to grab their favorite dessert. Then next highest bidding table and so on will be called to dash for their dessert.”

The dessert tables were filled with cakes, cookies and pies made by local bakers, restaurants, grocery stores and committee members.

Co-chairs for the event were Aimee Belden and Kathleen Schauer. Stark Library is one of the nine largest library systems in the state and serves the Stark County community through 10 locations, six mobile libraries and a 24/7 digital branch.

It serves more than 240,000 residents and has an annual circulation of four million items. Each year, the library offers more than 9,000 programs for 166,000 attendees and provides 220,000 computer sessions on the computers available to the public at each location. The Stark Library served nearly two million visitors from all locations and online in 2017.