The HMMPL Foundation’s 21st Century Book Ball
Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Courtesy of HMMPL
Calling all fans of the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library—HMMPL needs your input! There are residents of Zionsville who may recall an event that originally debuted in 1962 known as The Book Ball. The Book Ball was put on by the Psi Iota Xi sorority, which is still very active in Zionsville.
The original Book Ball was held at the Dolphin Country Club at 4460 Guion Rd. in Indianapolis, and the proceeds benefited the Children’s Reading Room of the HMMPL in Zionsville.
The HMMPL Foundation’s Chief Development Officer Tracy Phillips presented the idea to the foundation board to host the foundation’s first fundraising gala and pay homage to its founders and namesakes, as well as the Psi Iota Xi sorority. Hence, the reintroduction of The Book Ball, hosted by the HMMPL Foundation.
“The foundation was created in 1998 through the bequests of Lora Hussey, Olive Hoffman, Mr. and Mrs. James Mayfield,” Phillips said. “Thanks to those bequests, we have been existing in an endowment-like manner; just using the distributions from that fund.”
As the community grows and the needs of the community changes, Phillips is looking at The Book Ball as a way to assist with the sustainability of the library and the longevity of the foundation, so it can continue to offer the same myriad of services and resources for generations to come.
“In order to do that, we must now fundraise and engage people by introducing The Book Ball to the patrons of the library, as well as to all members of our community,” Phillips stated. “The Book Ball will be held on February 8, 2020, at the library. We will begin the evening paying homage to the original philanthropists of HMMPL, and in the middle of the event, we are going to make a pivot and start talking about the future of the library. In addition to the original philanthropists, we will also be using this event to thank the original fundraisers, Psi Iota Xi sorority. Many of its members are extremely active and do so much for Zionsville. They were the ones that started fundraising for the Summer Library Program and hosted the original Book Balls, which is why we have named this event in their honor and are hoping that many of them will come to this event.”
Mary Rueff, assistant director/volunteer coordinator at HMMPL, was researching the library’s archives for the library’s historical 50th anniversary when she came upon various scrapbooks and newspaper clippings highlighting the sorority’s Book Ball, beginning in 1962.
“I assume many of the clippings are from the local newspaper,” she said. “It has been fun looking back at some of the original Book Ball attendees enjoying buffet lines, dancing and celebrating the library. Just as it was back then, the 2020 Book Ball will be about the community coming together to enjoy and explore the library, after hours.”
Phillips described the evening, saying it will not be a formal, “stuffy” affair but will be an opportunity to explore the library’s different areas.
“We’re going to encourage attendees to explore the library,” Phillips said. “Whether it’s the first-floor children’s area or teen area or even into the different study rooms—we are going to have different interactive activities and fun things to do in those areas. Then, we will all come together on the second floor as a community, bringing the past and the future together at a point in the night, and talk with everyone all together under that beautiful barrel-vaulted ceiling.”
Phillips continued, “This will also be an opportunity for people to see how HMMPL serves the community, what’s new and learn about all of the online and streaming opportunities and so much more. At this point, in June, we are still open to activity suggestions and consider this as a callout to volunteers, particularly library patrons who are passionate about the library. We have the bones [for the event], but this is the time to put together a committee to help us plan an unforgettable event.”
Sponsorships are available for The Book Ball and interested parties should contact Phillips for individual and corporate sponsorship details.
“If you would like to identify yourself with lifelong learning, this is the place to do it,” Phillips suggested. “This will not be a sit-down formal event, rather a strolling environment with high-tops, and sponsors will have tables for their guests, but people can rest assured, they will not go hungry at this event. It will be the only time food and wine are encouraged in the building, and there will be no shushing in the library that night!”
Please consider joining the planning committee, becoming a sponsor and, for sure, save the date as more details are forthcoming about the 2020 Book Ball, benefiting the HMMPL Foundation.
Interested individuals and companies can contact Tracy Phillips at [email protected].
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