This past summer the Cleveland Public Library (CPL) celebrated its 150th anniversary with a street party so big that by design, it shut down lower Superior Avenue. Last month CPL added frosting to their cake with a very special celebration, BLACK, WHITE & REaD, an Anniversary Affair.
Cleverly, organizers used their own information-packed main building as party central – every hallway has a fascinating curated display to offer. More than 420 patrons at the sold-out event roamed from the first-floor former main reading room to the third floor, where some of the Library’s greatest treasures held in Special Collections can be found.
In attendance were nationally recognized authors with ties to Ohio, including Loung Ung, Phil Metres, DM Pulley, Dan Chaon, Paula McLain, and Raquel Eatmon, who mixed and mingled with guests throughout the evening, from cocktail hour off the regal, marbled entrance on the first floor, to the seated formal dinner on the second floor.
This event was the first for the Cleveland Public Library Foundation, formerly Friends of the Library. The 501(c) (3) organization exists to raise philanthropic support “to be more strategic, to buttress and diversify revenue beyond the core,” according to Shenise Johnson-Thomas, Chief of External Relations and Development for the Foundation.
Fifth Third Bank executive Robert (Bob) Pincus, who has been on the board of the Friends of CPL, now the Foundation, for 30 years was honored for his outstanding service and leadership, as was attorney Thomas D. Corrigan, who has been a trustee on the board of the library for 34 years, and president of the board twice.
The Anniversary Affair raised over $7,000 towards a newly established Transportation Fund to help schoolchildren enjoy quality-rich library programming. CPL is scheduled to open the reinvented Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Branch in University Circle in January 2020. With friends like these, and a reinvented, robust foundation behind the institution, that opening day is sure to be a success. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY RITA KUEBER
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