Members of the community gathered Thursday night for “Eat, Play, Read,” a fundraiser for the .
The event, which took place at the library’s main branch on Broad Street, brought out local leaders and business owners for a night of food, wine, auctions to support for public education.
“There are two very important public institutions in this country: public education and public libraries. They raise up people to be good citizens,” Gov. Dannel Malloy, former mayor and resident of Stamford, said.
As a child, Malloy struggled from dyslexia and remembers the library as a place that helped him with his studies. “I wasn’t a good reader, but I was able to learn at my own speed here," he said."It was very helpful.”
According to Kathryn Emmett, chair of the Board of Trustees, budget cutbacks in the state have trickled down and have affected Stamford’s libraries.
“The contributions tonight go to all our needs," she said. "Some are things [such as books and technology] but also staffing, building and infrastructure needs. The cutbacks in the city funding significantly affected everything.”
She added that she hopes "Play, Eat Read" will become an annual occasion.
Mayor Michael Pavia, also in attendance, said the casualties of the budget cuts, including funding cut to the city’s public libraries, were “excruciatingly painful.” Pavia said fundraisers such as this are important to chip in where the city falls short.
“We must remember that libraries serve the public, but also relies on the public," he said. "The public itself has to be engaged. We can’t leave this to chance. We need to support the Ferguson Library so it's here today, tomorrow and 100 years from now.”
An auction was held and hosted by WCBS broadcaster Joe Avellar, offering gifts such as Yankees baseball tickets, lunch for two with Gov. Malloy and a one week vacation at Public Saftey Director Bobby Valentine’s Florida condo. A Giving Tree was also available collecting money for items, such as new computers, audiobooks and e-books.
“I think because I’m a resident of Stamford, I’m very much for the public schools and the public libraries,” Stamford resident Leslie Ilaw told Patch.
“I used to work here in high school,” Jamie DiGiacomo, also a Stamford resident, said. “It’s been completely renovated since and looks great.” Ilaw and DiGiacomo both work for Thomson Reuters, a sponsor of the evening’s event.
Emmett says the Board of Trustees will be doing many fundraisers throughout the year to help raise money for all branches of the library.