Celebrities get creative for Danville library's Doodle for Literacy

DANVILLE – The fundraising committee of the Danville Library Foundation wanted to create an event that would be a first for the Danville community without reinventing the wheel.

In the process, the committee came up with the Doodle for Literacy Auction Gala event, which will be held April 10 at the Danville Country Club.

"While discussing the ideas, most we threw out landed with a dull thud," said Melanie Stevenson, vice president of the foundation's board and co-chair of the event. "But an idea not tried here, but successful for the University of Illinois Wildlife Medical Center, might just go over. We weren't trying to steal it and, in fact, they were magnanimous in helping us getting the process started."

That process involves buying "The Celebrity Black Book," a listing of contact information for movie, theater and television stars; sports figures; authors; artists; politicians and more.

The group waded through thousands of possibilities looking particularly for people who endorse literacy.

"We don't ask for a watercolor or oil painting," said Amy Hoose, foundation board secretary and co-chair. "Although looking at some that have already come in they are works of art, but the idea is to send the personality a piece of 8-by-11-inch card stock and a Sharpie and ask them to just doodle on it, something like any of us might do on a note pad while talking on the phone, and mail it back to us to be auctioned off."

The committee sent out 750 packets, hoping for a return of 10 percent. As of mid-February, more than 60 items had been received.

Hoose added that often the desirability of the doodle isn't what is drawn, but the fact that a particular personality made the drawing.

"We think that although our auction is close to the UI's, it will draw different people, those who support the library and recognize its importance to the community," Stevenson said.

"The public library is a safe haven for children and adults," Stevenson added. "It offers Internet accessibility to those without computers, an abundance of knowledge from books plus readily available movies, CDs, magazines and newspapers."

"It falls on all of us to be sure we can enable the library to continue the way it has been as well as offer new resources and programs," Hoose said.

In addition to the drawings, a script autographed by the original "NCIS" cast, letter and photo from Erin Brockovich and an autographed photo from Elizabeth Taylor and a few other items not specifically doodle drawings have also been returned.

Actor Sir Anthony Hopkins, besides being an accomplished actor, is a well-known artist. Hopkins wrote his piece was done while blindfolded and sent it back already framed. Hopkins' original oil paintings, now in galleries around the world, list for $4,000 to $25,000.

A special guest will visit the library children's department at 10 a.m. April 10 and then attend the auction in his own "evening wear." The 10th generation offspring of Rin Tin Tin, a star of TV and movies in the 1950s and 1960s, will not come empty- pawed. His paw prints serve as the flower petals to the stems someone else has drawn for his contribution to the auction.

Tickets are $65 for singles and $100 for a couple. Deadline for reservations is March 15. Call the library foundation office at 477-5223, ext. 114. Auction items will have a $100 reserve.

"Fundraising is our goal," Stevenson said. "I hope we'll be successful and the event will grow in future years and it becomes something people look forward to as a biennial event."

If you go

What: Danville Library Foundation auction.
When:
7 to 9 p.m. April 10 at the Danville Country Club, 2718 Denmark Road.
Ticket prices:
$65 singles, $100 couple. Reservation only by March 15. Call 477-5223, ext. 114 for reservations.
On the Web:
www.danville.lib.il.us.

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