Noe Valley Voice December-January 2003

Holiday Bash to Benefit the Library

By Laura McHale Holland

Two stalwarts of local activism, the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association and the Friends of Noe Valley, are co-hosting a holiday extravaganza, set to begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 12, at the Noe Valley Ministry.

This is the first time the groups have combined their holiday festivities, and the purpose of the gathering is to celebrate the season with neighbors while also raising money for the upcoming renovation of the Noe Valley­Sally Brunn Library on Jersey Street. The library's renovation is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2004, and should last for approximately two years.

There will be plenty of food and drink to imbibe at the party, but the main attraction will be a live auction, with Supervisor Bevan Dufty serving as auctioneer.

"The auction will feature about a dozen 'only in Noe Valley' items," says Debra Niemann, vice president of Friends of Noe Valley. "That can be everything from a walking tour of 24th Street with Paul Kantus to lunch with Bevan Dufty, a tea party package, a financial package, history of your house, massage at Elisa's, dinner at a Noe Valley restaurant, a home improvement package, a night at a bed and breakfast, lunch with a local author, time with a personal trainer, and yoga classes."

The event has no admission charge, but volunteers will request a donation for the library at the door. "Everybody has a personal feeling about the library one way or the other, and that personal feeling will determine how much they want to give. Everything we raise at this party goes directly to the library," notes Niemann.

All of the goods and services necessary to produce the party have been either donated or underwritten by neighborhood merchants and organizations. For example, local flower purveyor Indigo V will decorate the Ministry's upstairs sanctuary for the affair. Culinary delights will be created by the likes of Tom's Peasant Pies, Noe Valley Bakery, and Pasta Pomodoro. Drinks both hard and soft, for the no-host bar, have also been donated.

Staff from the Noe Valley Nursery School will provide child care downstairs. A full list of sponsors will be at the party's entrance.

In November 2000, city voters approved a $106 million bond measure to renovate local library branches in need of seismic repair. A hefty $4.2 million was earmarked for the Noe Valley Branch. However, most of that money will go toward earthquake and disabled-access retrofitting. It is unknown how much, if any, will remain for upgrading equipment and making the library's interior more functional for the future.

During community design workshops held this October at the library, neighbors, library staff, and the project's architect, Alice Carey, came up with plans for preserving the beauty and historical nature of the Carnegie-era library, which has been designated an architecturally significant building by the City Landmarks Board. They also strove to create a better work environment for the library staff, enhance the the community meeting room and collection areas, and make accommodations for 21st-century technology.

"We have a great design right now that still has to be finalized. That will happen in the first quarter of next year. Now is the time to match money with ideas, so the funds we raise at the party will really make a difference in terms of what is possible for our library," says Niemann. "We'll take checks; we'll even take IOUs."

For more information about the party itself, or about making a donation to the library, contact Niemann at 282-9918.

If you want to help the producers of the event, call Carol Yenne at 648-3954. She's the president of the Merchants Association, and is especially interested in getting more restaurants involved.

The Ministry is located at 1021 Sanchez Street near 23rd Street.