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Open house provides sneak peak at library, raises funds for Connell initiative

Friday, December 14, 2012

Santa Claus arrives at McIver's Grant Public Library's Christmas open house in style.
Santa had a busy day at McIver's Grant Public Library on Saturday, Dec. 8. He first visited with children at the old library building and then traveled a few blocks to an open house at the new library facility. Activities linked to the open house were a partnership between the Friends of McIver's Grant Public Library and the Connell Foundation, a new organization created by the children of Dr. and Mrs. Don Connell to raise at least $200,000 to name the children's department in honor of the couple who long served the Dyer County community.
Residents visiting McIver's Grant Public Library's new building for an open house on Saturday, Dec. 8 received a large dose of Christmas cheer.

With Santa dropping by, a Christmas tree give-away, and a place to purchase both holiday snacks and gifts, those attending enjoyed many aspects of the holiday season. A sneak peak at the nearly completed library was a main draw for many who dropped by, but it was the spirit of giving that dominated the event.

Friends of McIver's Grant Public Library joined with the family of Dr. and Mrs. Don Connell to raise additional funds for the library's children's department at the open house. Several initiatives offered at the party helped to aid the Connell children in their desire to have the children's department named in honor of their parents.

The Kiwanis Kids Corner -- designed with children from birth to age 3 in mind -- has already been established within the children's department. The Kiwanis Club's Duck Blast Dinner recently raised funds for the organization's second significant donation to the library.

The goal of the Connell Foundation is to raise an additional $200,000 to benefit the children's department by the library's grand opening.

Hand-sewn aprons by Dianne Donner were available for sale at the open house. Aprons are still available at the old library building, with funds slated to benefit the Connell's goal.
Dyer County Road Commissioner Jeff Jones shares a moment -- and his own personal story -- with Charlene Connell White during the open house. Jones served as an emcee for the event. The book in White's hand was dedicated to taking down personal notes for her parents and stories and memories shared with her family during the evening. The Connell children hope to have Dr. Don Connell at the library's grand opening.
To date, the Connell Foundation has raised $14,855 toward this goal.

Volunteers counted between 200 and 300 residents attending the open house.

Thanks to an artistic donation by DeAnn McDowell, residents attending the event were also able to send personal messages to the Connells on a giant Christmas card. Others shared personal stories and memories with Charlene Connell White and other family members attending the event.

Sarah Rice Miller poses with Charlene Connell White a fundraiser benefiting children's department of McIver's Grant Public Library. Miller won a cake at the event held on Saturday, Dec. 8.
Missy Smitheal sends a personal note to the Connells on a work of art provided by DeAnn McDowell.
"The benefit for my family is to hear these wonderful stories about my parents," said White. "The rest benefits the library and the community."

Carol Harris said combining the Connell name with the children's department of the library is a natural fit.

"I have been passionate about this library project since the beginning," said Harris. "It has been my life for the past 5-1/2 years. When the Connell children came to us about naming the children's department, I haven't felt that much excitement since I began the project. Dr. Connell was such an important person in our community -- he has given so much. My goal is really two-fold now: to get the library built for the community and to help the Connells raise that money. He has impacted so many lives. I just hope people will remember what a positive and powerful force both he and his wife were in this area. I hope the community will really step forward and help."

At Saturday's open house, many crafts and baked goods were on sale. Sarah Rice Miller also won a cake, with Steve Walker winning a fully decorated Christmas tree. All proceeds will go directly to the children's department of the new library facility.

A large variety of homemade Christmas treats were on sale to aid the children's department of the library.
Items to benefit the library -- and the Connell Foundation goal -- are still available for sale at McIver's Grant Public Library. Items include aprons that have been hand sewn by Dianne Donner and a variety of Christmas decorations.

Donations are still being collected through the library website at www.dyersburgdyercolibrary.com or the Connell Foundation's website at http://www.connellfoundation.com.

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sneak "peak"


-- Posted by oldbat on Fri, Dec 14, 2012, at 9:21 PM

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