Novel fundraiser for library a rousing success

As published in the Red Rock News

On Saturday, October 1, Sedona Public Library celebrated the new Village Library with Novel Night, an inaugural fundraising event designed to celebrate literature, literacy, community, and ultimately food, fun, and friends. The event was a tremendous success, and as hoped, it serves as the first of what we trust will become a signature event for Big Park / Village of Oak Creek and for Sedona Public Library in the Village.

First and foremost, thank you to the 90 guests, 25 themed-dinner hosts, 43 individuals and businesses who contributed twice as many items for the silent auction, both of our sponsors, all of the Library staff, and dozens of volunteers including the planning committee. As they say . . . it takes a Village! With all your help, we made well over $16,000, a solid beginning for this important new library.

So as the fun and colorful evening ensued, the question arose again and again: “How did you come up with this fundraiser idea—to host several book-themed costume dinner parties in the community followed by an After Party back at the Library? Well, it is a good idea, and I did what all great writers and event planners do: I stole it!

When I first applied for my position at Sedona Public Library, the hiring committee asked me to present a fundraiser for the library. Having managed fundraisers of all sorts for different non-profit organizations, it was a relatively easy task. But specifically for a library? Sounded fun. So, as all great researchers do, I went to Google!

There I found Novel Night, an event for the Town of Pelham Public Library in New York. This event is produced by the non-profit Friends of the Town of Pelham Public Library who have curated Novel Night so well that they now do it bi-annually with 40 parties hosting 20+ guests each. It is definitely the signature event for this small town with population and history not unlike Sedona and Big Park / Village of Oak Creek.

Well, needless to say, I got the job, and six years later it was the Village Library supporters who most enthusiastically embraced the idea of this novel fundraiser. Thus, with the work of a small committee who met for the first time a year ago, we pulled it off earlier this month. And I could rave on about how great I think it was, but I’m the creator. So, let’s hear what a few guests had to say about the inaugural Novel Night.

“Novel Night was such a fun evening. The food was fabulous, and I was able to meet numerous new people. I also really enjoyed the After Party where we were able to see all the costumes while indulging in champagne and a plethora of yummy desserts.  The event was incredibly well organized. I sure hope they do it again next year!” From Cindy who attended the party Calling All Suffragettes and Suffragents, primary host Carolyn Fisher based on “Stories from Suffragette City” by M.J. Rose and Fiona Davis.

“Books? Trivia?  Riddles?  Contrariwise rules?  Croquet with a flamingo and hedgehogs?  Amazing costumes?  This fundraiser couldn’t get any better – only it did.  We supported our VOC branch of Sedona Public Library by eating, drinking, and socializing with like-minded book lovers. No one lost their head and everyone made it safely to the After Party for even more fun. I admit that I didn’t win any of the (amazing) silent auction items. The competition was fun and fierce, and I was distracted by the plates of chocolates everywhere. Count us in for next year!” From Jackie who attended A Mad Tea Party with primary host Margaret Davis and celebrating “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll.

“Success!!!  The Novel Night was a total success! We so enjoyed the whole evening.  The dinner party was fun…the food delicious. The After Party was so well planned and executed. Tish did great job with the silent auction and setup. The music contributed a wonderful ambiance. And, the dessert bites and champagne were yummy. Well done!  We can’t wait to be a part of it next year!!! From Jennette who attended one of two Meet the Gatsby’s parties, this one hosted by Tom and Jane Binnings, celebrating “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

“The evening was delightful, enjoyable, fun and a smashing success . . . my thanks to the staff who worked so hard to provide this memorable evening for us on behalf of the Sedona Public Library in the Village . . .  clearly demonstrating your dedication and loyalty . . . At closing of the dinner I attended, several guests complimented Library personnel for their creativity and expressed their sincere appreciation for the superb organization of the event and their gratitude for the new Library in the Village. Everyone asked if we would do this next year. The idea blossomed into a unique event that will be long-remembered; but more importantly, serve as a reminder of the importance of libraries.” From Linda who attended Around the World, with primary host Chuck Marr, and celebrating “Around the World in 80 Days.”

Thank you, again, to everyone who made this night a success, and if you didn’t get your ticket this year, be sure to do so next year. Or if you think you’d like to host a party, let me know soon! And, if you’d like to support Sedona Public Library in the Village? You can, just visit Thanks!

Sedona Public Library  
Library News Column for October 21, 2022  
Written by Anne Marie Mackler, Development Director