As promised, here’s some info on where that money from Evening in the Stacks is heading every year. I asked Christie Lassen, Director of Communications and Partnerships, to point me in the right direction on this. Here’s what she said about Battle of the Books:
Proceeds from Evening in the Stacks benefit educational initiatives such as Battle of the Books, an academic competition for fifth graders who read 13 assigned books then answer questions about them. More than 300 teams (1500 students - or about one-third of Howard County fifth graders) will compete in April at this event, which has become a rite of passage. It's grown so much that it now takes place simultaneously at six high school gyms. To give everyone an even starting point, we provide each team with a set of books -- something we are able to do thanks to generous support from our community.
A piece of Battle of the Books trivia for you: Sara Toth, former education reporter for the Howard County Times, loved covering this event so much that,when she moved on to work for the Chatauqua Institution, she started one in her new community. Pretty cool. I got to know the excitement of HCLSBOB through reading Ms.Toth’s live-tweeting coverage each year. It was easy to see that the enthusiasm of the participants was contagious.
The Howard County Library System is well known for fostering community partnerships. Battle of the Books is an event which fosters a love of reading, sure, but it is a lot more than that. There’s team spirit, wacky costumes, local “celebrities” pitching in to help, and an enormous sense of community. It’s a prime example of how libraries are far more than just checking out books.
So, whether you buy tickets to Evening in the Stacks, or try your luck by purchasing raffle tickets, here’s a good example of where your money is going. Big or small, it’s an investment worth making.