The best-selling "Queen of Crime" is just one author in the British Book Collection financed by the Danville Library Endowment for the Danville Public Library. The British flag is on the spine of each book in the collection so anglophiles can spot them easily. It also includes hard-backed classics, such as works by W.M. Thackeray, and nonfiction books about Great Britain.
The Endowment is holding a party for its donors late Sunday afternoon, May 6, to celebrate reaching half a million dollars in contributions. Hundreds of new books purchased by the Danville Library Endowment will be on display, including the British Book Collection, a special interest of the Endowment because it commemorates Stefanie van Ogtrop, the beloved former Branch Danville Branch Librarian. Although she was of Dutch heritage, she loved everything British, recalled Endowment member Helen Pearlstein.
"She traveled to Great Britain often and was intrigued by the British," Pearlstein said.
Other books bought with Endowment funds cover science, history, western studies, fiction and children's classics.
The Endowment receives about $25,000 each year, which it uses to enhance the Danville library collection, said Pearlstein. The funds are professionally managed by the East Bay Community Foundation.
"The largest gift ever was $40,000," Pearlstein recalled. "When Stefanie van Ogtrop died, we got a lot of contributions to fund the British Endowment."
The Endowment uses its money for grants to provide what people may see as gaps in the library's collection. Some may say the library needs more popular fiction or more books on Western subjects, explained Pearlstein. Or operatic piano scores.
The group was founded in 1998.
"We felt that the library needed a cushion, to ensure that it would be a viable institution no matter what the tax base is," Pearlstein said.
The Friends of the Danville Library has a similar mission although its membership is bigger. It runs a used bookstore at the library, has large book sales several times a year, and gives about $28,000-$30,000 to the library each year for books and programming, said Pearlstein.
The Endowment party will have hors d'oeuvres, beverages, music, introductions and a few short speeches, Pearlstein said, but it's mainly a time to get together, look at books and celebrate. Anyone interested in attending the party should call 938-READ (938-7323).