For 20 years, the Johnson County Library Foundation’s signature fundraising event was a formal sit-down dinner held at Johnson County Community College. It was a great setting to honor community leaders with the foundation’s annual Pinnacle Awards. But, being held off site, it didn’t always feel like a showcase for the work the foundation goes to support.
So when the library finished off a major renovation of the central resource branch on 87th Street two years ago, foundation staff got to thinking: We have this gorgeous new space. Why not show it off?
Thus was born the library foundation’s new primary fundraiser. The “Library Lets Loose” event debuted last year, replacing the standard 10-top table sit-down dinner with what the foundation’s Stephanie Neu calls “more of a festival atmosphere.” And this Saturday, the event returns with a new slate of features, food and fun.
“We’ve tried to keep it fresh, so if you came last year, the experience will be totally different this year,” Neu said.
Patrons get to sample food and drinks from local vendors at stations set up throughout the central resource library’s various areas, from the stacks to conference rooms to the new maker space. Interspersed throughout are a variety of “experiential” opportunities, from a pub-style trivia competition to photo booths to a virtual reality display. Additionally, bands will be set up to play live music throughout the evening.
This year’s honorary hosts are Bob and Ann Regnier of the Regnier Family Foundation and Bank of Blue Valley. Proceeds from the event go directly to programming supported by the library foundation, including the 6 by 6 Early Literacy Program, incarcerated services support, the summer reading program, and the Black & Veatch Maker Space.
The event will also feature a variety of raffle baskets, all valued at least $350.
Tickets to the event are $75 per person. Last year, the event sold out at a capacity of 400. Organizers have opened up additional tickets this year, but say they expect to come close to selling out in the coming days.
A map showing the layout for Saturday’s event is below: