Brownell Library held a spelling bee with two teen teams, a staff team, and a trustee team. Kat Redniss, the Young Adult Librarian, printed out word lists from Scripps Howard and gave them to the teams a couple months in advance.
The teams created their own names and slogans, made t-shirts, and trashed talked each other playfully. Teams were able to get sponsors on their own. Sponsors, including local businesses, personal friends, and families, could donate any amount of money.
At the event, the Library held a bake sale with treats baked by staff and trustees, had a bowl out for donations, and held a raffle. People bought raffle tickets and then put their ticket into the container of the team they thought would win. The raffle winner was drawn from the bee winner’s container. The winner got a portion of the money and the library got the rest. (The winner gave most of the money back to the library.) Kat reports, “This was a blast, fun competition, literacy-oriented, and productive! Brownell Library raised over $1100.”
Need resources? Check out the Scripps Howard website for specific directions to hold one of their patented fundraising bees; or try the Merriam Webster website for Scripps Howard word lists. The Scripps Howard website includes ideas to build excitement such as dressing in black and yellow (bees) or showing the documentary “Spellbound.”
We’ve had a super time offering school bus excursions.
This summer we rented a bus from Mountain Transit and took 37 people to Hope Cemetery in Barre for a tour by Guiliano Cecchinelli, granite sculptor, Celebrating the Visual Arts for the Adult Summer Reading program. We charged people $5.00 apiece and the Friends paid the balance. I paid Giuliano a $100 honorarium. He doesn’t charge per se.
Palace 9 has been showing the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts, so we hired the school bus for a journey from Essex to Shelburne Road for Madama Butterfly.My best friend and opera buddy Toni Hill met the bus, hopped aboard with a bottle of chianti, did a toast in Italian, then told the bus riders the background of the opera. Some had never been to an opera at all. She also prepared a little flyer for them to take into the cinema. I bought tickets ahead (the shows sell out early). A library school student and Essex native Lara made truffles for our riders. We charged the patrons $27.50 which covered the ticket and paid for Toni and Lara and Penny to go to the opera. We’re doing Tosca and Aida in October and November. I gave Toni an honorarium for her preparation and will again. The bus returned everyone to the Brownell Library parking lot ca. 10:30 pm.
For our Music Celebration of the Arts this summer, we had Toni come and do a History of Opera with musical examples. There are opera buffs everywhere.
Penny Pillsbury and crew, Brownell Library