BY RAEGAN NEUFELD
The Hays Public Library hosted the HPL Foundation’s first-ever Wine and Cheese Fundraiser on Saturday.
Money raised from this event will go to the Hays Public Library Foundation, whose funds help promote the library’s goals and needs to the community. The Foundation started in 2001, and was able to raise over $500,000 to turn the outside of the library into a replica of Carnegie Hall.
“Since then they’ve helped with numerous projects,” Library Director Brandon Hines said. “In the last couple of years, they’ve helped purchase the bookmobile, which allowed us to extend our outreach services throughout the pandemic.”
The Foundation also helped contribute to the recent remodel of the library. A remodel that is so new, the carpeted sections of the floor still had a protective plastic covering on them.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do nearly as much without them,” Hines said.
While admiring the remodel, patrons who attended the event were able to sample a variety of wines and cheeses. As they socialized, the attendees also purchased raffle tickets with the hope of winning any of the 20 prizes that were donated by different businesses.
Hines spoke of the other contributors that made the night possible.
“We solicited donations for sponsorships,” he said. “We did really well with our sponsorships. It actually paid for all of the food and the speaker. So everything tonight that was raised by the attendees just helped add to it.”
The speaker that Hines mentioned was Ron Wilson, who is the director of the Huck Boyd Institute for Rural Development. Wilson talked about the importance of what he calls “rural-preneurs,” or people who bring business to rural communities, whether it be through start-up companies or tourism.
He also emphasized the role that public libraries play in communities like Hays. Wilson told the story of President Truman, and how he gained his scholarly knowledge not through school, but through his public library.
Hines was pleased with how the evening went. Just being able to host the event was a big deal. Initially, they had planned for the event to take place a year and a half ago, but were unable to due to the pandemic.
“A lot of people engaged,” he said. “Absolutely I think we’ll do this again in the future. We hope maybe it will turn into an annual event.”