Judy Musa believes that The Get To-Gather Farm and the yet-to-be-built new Washougal library have one important thing in common.
“(Get To-Gather Farm owner) John (Spencer)imagines his farm as a community gathering place, but that’s what the library is going to be as well — and as a bigger library, it will be an even be better, more inclusive gathering place,” said Musa, the Fort Vancouver Regional Library Foundation’s development officer. “It does kind of go along with each other that his farm’s a gathering place, as will be the new library.”
That’s one of the reasons why Musa is excited about “Novel Night,” a farm-to-table fundraiser for the new Washougal library project, which will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, at Get To-Gather Farm in Washougal.
The event is being organized by the foundation, FVRL and the Friends of Washougal Community Library group.
“I’m intrigued by farm-to-table events, because I believe it’s so important for people to eat locally, purchase locally, and just celebrate what we do have in our beautiful area here,” Musa said. “The whole community is really getting behind this, so we hope that it’s really successful. This is not exactly a replacement of the Dinner in White (fundraising event), because that may continue in 2023. But we knew we needed to do something, and I wanted it to be something fun and different and hopefully capture people’s attention.”
Musa found what she was looking for when she connected with Spencer in the fall of 2021 through Bill Maniscalco, a mutual acquaintance.
“We’re very excited to be able to be a part of this,” Spencer said. “Part of our business plan is to become a place where the community gathers. Hosting events like this fits in perfectly with what we want to do. We believe people need more opportunities to connect with each other and with the earth, and we’re thrilled we get a chance to provide one. We hope this will be one of many. The goal is to make this a true farm-to-table experience and let the land and plants do the magic.”
The event costs $60 per person and will feature dinner, silent and live auctions, musical performances, and updated conceptual designs for the new library.
“(Hacker Architects employees) will have some of the posters out and they’ll be around to answer questions, just like they were at the community input meetings,” Musa said. “We’re working on getting those final things ready so that it all looks like a great depiction of what they’re envisioning and what the community has been waiting for for so long. They are taking all of that information that they’ve gathered at the community input meetings and putting it all together.”
FVRL is working to build a new facility that will provide more materials, resources, internet, and computer access, as well as more space for meetings, programs and workshops, at the intersection of Main Street and Durgan Street in downtown Washougal.
“Supporting the library is a no-brainer,” Spencer said. “Libraries are essential to communities, and it’s painfully obvious that Washougal’s current library is bursting at the seams. They’ll be able to do much more for the community when they move to their new building. .. I am also excited that the community is coming together over the library — it’s been a while since East County has had a project that just about everyone can support. I would love it if the success of the library spawns more community projects where families can participate and build a more collaborative environment.”
After the architects gather input, they will finalize a conceptual rendering and develop a preliminary cost estimate, both of which will be used in future fundraising efforts.
The FVRL Board of Trustees has committed almost $3 million in capital reserves to the project, and the Friends group and the Foundation have accumulated more than $363,000 through grassroots fundraising events such as book sales and the Dinner in White on the Columbia dinner/auction.
Many local community organizations, including the Camas Lions Club, Camas-Washougal Moose Lodge, and the Camas-Washougal Rotary Club, have donated $1,000 apiece to the Foundation’s Washougal Library Building Fund.
“Once we have an idea of the cost of the project, we can determine the remaining amount that needs to be raised,” former Washougal Community Library manager Rachale Ries told the Post-Record in April. “Our hope is to find enough supporters and donors who want to invest in this project that construction can begin in early 2023.”
For more information about the project, visit washougallibraryfriends.org or fvrlfoundation.org.
Tickets for the 21-and-older event can be purchased online at novelnight.eventbrite.com. For more information, call 360-906-4700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.