CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- At last count, 76 baskets filled with books and goodies had been donated for the annual "A Tisket, a Tasket ... a Literary Basket," a major fundraiser for the Kanawha County Public Library.
"The most we have ever had is 65," said Cheryl Morgan, a member of the library board and chairwoman of the basket benefit.
"It's saying that people want to help the library. We don't know some of the people, they're strangers. It's like magic."
The baskets will be sold at a silent auction that begins at 6 p.m. April 20 in the auditorium of NiSource Gas Transmission and Storage, 1700 MacCorkle Ave. SE. Bridge Road Bistro will cater the event.
Last year, the Friends of the Library raised $31,000 for the library's children and family programs.
This year, Friends Chairwoman Ghee Gossard said, "We think it's best that the library use their discretion as to where our money goes."
Earlier this month, the state Supreme Court ruled that the Kanawha County Board of Education doesn't have to give funds (currently about $3 million) to the library, as the Legislature had directed decades ago.
The school board's money accounted for 40 percent of the library's operating funds. The school board has agreed to continue its funding through June. Meanwhile, in anticipation of the steep cut, the library board has canceled the fall book festival and has eliminated all Sunday hours.
So the response to ticket sales and donations "has been very enthusiastic," Morgan said.
Here's an example:
One basket contains books about sternwheelers on the Kanawha River and a gift certificate from Dick Daugherty for a trip for 20 on his sternwheeler The Spirit of West Virginia, complete with legal beverages and snacks, in May or June. "Tom and I agreed to be deckhands," said Lakin Cook, referring to her husband.