'Mob' brings flash to Port Townsend library benefit
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Lee Brown leads a flash mob that took guests by surprise at the Port Townsend Library holiday fete, which raised $53,000 toward a matching NEA grant.

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PORT TOWNSEND — Just under 100 guests at a holiday party donated $53,000 in private donations for Port Townsend Public Library renovations.

The Saturday soiree was held in the partially restored Carnegie building, where guests were greeted by Doug Taylor portraying library benefactor Andrew Carnegie and entertained by live music, tables of sweet and savory bites, and a wine bar with a “Library Red” vintage.

There was even a library flash mob.

About an hour into the holiday party, the live music was replaced with a recorded song celebrating the Port Townsend Public Library.

The song was written by the Bremerton-based Grammy award-winning songwriting team Arthur and Leslie Stead.

One by one, library staff, board members, guests and even cartwheeling children who'd previously gone unnoticed in the crowd turned into a synchronized, lip-syncing dance troupe.

Donations raised will go toward matching a $500,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the State Heritage Capital Project Fund grant.

In order to receive the money pledged by the National Endowment, Library Director Theresa Percy said, the library must raise an additional $1.5 million.

The holiday fundraiser celebrated milestones in the Port Townsend Library's Capital Campaign Project, which is renovating the library in five phases.

Four phases of the y renovation are completed or in progress: the Charles Pink House renovation; the seismic upgrade of the Carnegie Building, nonseismic renovation of the exterior building and partial repair of the interior, as well as construction of a modular structure for housing the children's library.

The project is finalizing funding for the fourth phase: renovation and repair of the exterior stairways, footing drains and utility routes.

The fifth phase will include the replacement of the current single-level, 3,625-square-foot annex with a three-story, 14,420-square-foot structure, estimated to cost $8.1 million.

Saturday's guests heard brief speeches from a handful of foundation members and Percy, who talked about the success of the project.

Library foundation member John Mericle pointed out that the Carnegie building is one of the few remaining “jewel box” libraries in the nation, and “the repair and expansions are not a luxury but a necessity.”

The Port Townsend Library will turn 100 in 2013.

For more information on the capital campaign or library events, phone 360-385-3181 or visit www.ptpubliclibrary.org.

Last modified: December 20. 2012 6:10PM
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