“Enriching Lives. Inspiring Minds. Creating Community”: These three phrases express the York Public Library’s central mission. Those of us who worked to put on the first online YPL Auction came to understand how much the people of York appreciate the work the Library does every day to live out the meaning of those aspirations. The Auction closed a little over a week ago, but successful bidders are just beginning to enjoy their finds. Some have taken home a beautiful painting or crafted treasure; others are planning to savor a treat from a local restaurant or food emporium; still others will have the fun of planning an outing or adventure. And the ultimate success of the Auction extended beyond even these pleasures.
Thanks to the generosity of donors, sponsors, and bidders, the Auction raised over $30,000 to support Library programming. We discovered just how much our library does, in fact, live out its mission when our committee approached individuals and businesses for contributions to the Auction. We were met with an incredible outpouring of generosity. Many times over, we heard how much our townspeople love the Library: during the recent COVID period, when the Library staff so ingeniously pivoted to offer new online services, but also before and since, as the Library reopened and patrons entered the building once again. Our library serves as a hub for all manner of activities to Enrich Lives, Inspire Minds, and Create Community.
We saw this in evidence during one of the last days of the Auction, when several of us from the Auction Committee gathered downstairs to wrap Auction items for pick up. As we passed through the first floor, we noticed patrons browsing the shelves, taking out books or placing their donations in the Book Nook donations box. As we made our way downstairs, we saw in the Community Room a group of young people and adults in a Parks and Recreation training session; we noticed several staff members from Old York installing an antique doll house in a display case; in the Children’s Room, we saw a librarian working with a middle school volunteer as families with young children wandered through the low, kid height stacks together picking out inviting books. Purposeful and joyful activity everywhere we looked!
What fun we had that day: carefully and admiringly wrapping paintings and crafted items, placing gift certificates in envelopes, and, because we love books so much, we took special pleasure in tying up bags of books—some signed by local favorite authors like May Sarton and Steven King and others farther flung—what lucky youngster netted a signed copy of Judy Blume’s “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.” In fact, entirely appropriately for a library auction, the highest bid in the auction came for a prized first edition of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
But we had even more fun in soliciting donations over the past months! As we sought out all those enticing items, it felt as if we were giving people the chance to show how much they care about the Library, how much it means to them and to their families. We thank all of the donors and sponsors and bidders for their generosity. Thank you, as well, to our Auction Committee and volunteers, to the Board of Trustees for their support, to Jane Siviski, YPL Marketing and Development Coordinator for all of her hard work, and, indeed, to the entire Library staff for helping YPL do what it does every day: Enrich Lives, Inspire Minds, and Create Community.
By Barbara Chase and Nancy Garrick, co-chairs of the YPLA Online Auction Committee