On Saturday, November 9 the Fort Smith Public Library held its sixth annual Black Tie Bingo, a night consisting of delectable hors d’oeuvres, fine dining, 50/50 raffles, and an exciting game of Bingo. The event was made possible by generous sponsors: Arvest Bank, Baldor, BancorpSouth, Davis Iron and Metal, First National Bank, Gerdau, Marilyn Patterson, and Stephens Production. Our very own Daren Bobb was the emcee.
This event was held in support of the FSPL Endowment Trust, which started out as a $1.7 million gift from Leah Cohn Arndt and has been continually growing over the years. With the help of the community, they have raised more than $177,000 over the past five years through the Black Tie Bingo event.
The night started with some mingling in the downstairs lobby as the Don Bailey Jazz Ensemble played for the guests (as they have done for all five of the previous years). Wine was served with a wide variety of hors d’oeuvres, including a delicious bleu cheese and artichoke dip that truly won over the room. After socializing with new and old friends, everyone migrated upstairs for an exquisite dinner provided by Ambiance Catering.
Cindy Long, Endowment Trust Director, expressed her gratitude just before dinner, recognizing the sponsors and everyone who has supported the library over the years. She states, “The Endowment is the key to maintaining the future financial strength and stability of our library.”
Sweet and Lowdown serenaded the room upstairs as guests enjoyed their mouthwatering dinner consisting of soup, salad, and a juicy tenderloin. Sweet and Lowdown plays music that spans the decades and highlights almost every genre with a lot of soul. They are composed of Tiffany Reeves (vocals), Keith Reeves (guitar), and John Cunningham (piano).
Jennifer Goodwin, Library Director, gave a phenomenal speech at dinner with some pretty impressive numbers regarding how the library has made an impact on the community.
Did you know that the FSPL had over 434,000 people visit one of four library locations last year? More than 515,000 books, magazines, audiobooks, and DVDs were checked out, and nearly 19,000 of those items were checked out via the Library2Go eBook service. Jennifer also pointed out how often the library computers were used. People utilize their computers to look for jobs, continue their education, work on resumes, and much more.
Jennifer introduced some new library services to everyone as well; rather, she filled us in on how these new services work and how they can help our community. They now have a downloadable music service called Freegal, a free magazine source called Zinio, and even a new language learning app called Mango Languages. All of these new advances are made possible through the Endowment Trust. She explained, “Our goal is that someday the Endowment will be large enough that we won’t have to worry every year about the status of our public funding, because we know that the Endowment will be able to step in and make a difference.”
The entire night was beautifully elegant, with delightful company and exceptional dining – all for a wonderful cause!