12th annual Books Appétit fundraiser embraces Middle Eastern flavors
Plates of food mix in with stacks of books at the annual BooksAppétit fundraiser, which marks its 12th year supportingValley Community Library on Thursday, April 27.
Although BooksAppétit has become a staple event in the community, heading the fundraiser is a newexperience for the library’s executive director, Krista Pegnetter. She beganworking for the library, 739 River St., Peckville, in October after predecessorMary Barna retired after three decades.
Pegnetter quickly learned of the fundraiser’s significance in helping the library pay off its mortgage, cover operating costs and more. BooksAppétit set a record last year, raising $ 6,000.
“Everything is donated, so the library has very little cost for holding the event,” Pegnetter said.
Popular local restaurants and stores gave to the event, whose food selection Pegnetter said consists mostly of familiar favorites.
But the library also tries to present an “opportunity for people to try something a little bit different,” she added, and contacted Patti Chen of Patti’s Pitas in Eynon, hoping she could add some variety of flavor for BooksAppétit. This year’s featured chef guest, Chen opened the restaurant in January and agreed to donate her services to the fundraiser.
“It’s going to be Middle Eastern. ... Falafels, chicken schnitzel, and then I’ll be bringingmy pita bread,” Chen said.
This year’s guests also can pick up a newcookbook thanks to the library’s cookbook club. The group’s roughly 15 to 20 members are assigned a cookbook in the library collection and then attempt to make a meal fromit before enjoying food and conversation together.
“Since theywere having such a strong bond and having so much fun, they asked us to put together a cookbook of their own recipes,” Pegnetter said. “It’s being printed now, and it’ll be available for purchase at BooksAppétit.”
“Recipes from the Cookbook Club” costs $ 10 and is about 40 pages long.
BooksAppétit guests also have the chance to try and win one of several raffles. Baskets on display at the library contain gift cards, memorial baseballs and basketballs and other prizes, and the library will continue to accept donations until the event. Raffle tickets are $ 1, except for high- value baskets.
“It’s really funny tome, moving into this area, but I realize raffles are really important around here,” Pegnetter said.
She hopes everyone enjoys the food and helps support the cause.
“All the proceeds go to the library. ... We get the majority of our funding through the county library system ... but thenwe still have 15 to 20 percent of our budget thatwe have tomake up,” Pegnetter said. “This is our biggest fundraiser of the year, and it’s absolutely crucial.”
Liz Kluesner, Valley Community Library youth services director, stands with raffle baskets and bottles of wine donated to the library for the Books Appétit benefit.