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Behind-the-Scenes of Night in the Stacks Planning

In this guest blog, Associate Board President André Smith shares his experience helping plan our annual Night in the Stacks fundraiser!

Helping to plan Night in the Stacks this year was a blast.

This was my second year serving as President of the Associate Board (AB) and also my second year helping with Night in the Stacks planning. This year was different in many ways since, after having attending the event for the first time in 2023, I knew what to expect and used that in helping to plan the event this year.

One of the first tasks for the AB was choosing a theme. The theme the board chose was “film noir,” which leans into a 1940s smoky detective mystery vibe.  After that, we hit the ground running with other logistics. I served on the raffle committee and spent much of my time reaching out to businesses in Chicago to get in-kind donations to put together our amazing raffle packages. It was a fun task since I got to learn about all the different businesses in the city and, in the process, create a relationship between them and the Library Foundation.

Traveling detectives roamed around the venue, immersing guests in the film noir experience!

The AB also met bi-weekly starting in January to plan and offer ideas and approach the evening. This included finding images to feature around the room from the Library’s digital collections, offer feedback on decorations, assisting with finding vendors such as DJ Rex Balcita and the photobooth, and sharing updates on how community outreach was going.

Lights, Camera, Action!

After months of planning, the night of the event couldn’t have gone any better! As I walked into the Harold Washington Library Center’s Winter Garden, I was first struck by the amazing decorations that really captured the mood of the theme we hoped to convey. The detail from the center main decorations to the lamps and photos around the room truly transported you to a film-noir inspired era. It was also so great seeing people dress on-par with the theme in their most mysterious dark noir colors and accessories!

My favorite part of the night was the socializing. Getting to see all the other AB members and experiencing the event we worked so hard on planning and executing was satisfying. The delicious food and refreshments were an added bonus. Also, meeting so many supporters of the Foundation was wonderful. The money raised through the event supports lifelong learning resources avilable in the city’s libraries, fostering a welcoming community for all Chicagoans.

Being able to be part of such a fun night in support of the Library’s mission is an experience I’ll always be fond of.

Now the AB gets to look forward to our next meeting where we can discuss our thoughts about how the night went and ideas for next year’s Night in the Stacks. I’m looking forward to many Night in the Stacks to come!