Bentonville, Ark.– The Bentonville Library Foundation (BLF) hosted Booked for the Evening with Steuart Walton on Thursday, September 15 at Tavola Trattoria.
The event’s format was a conversational Q & A between Steuart Walton and Anthony Soohoo, and the topic was Smart Growth and Avoiding Complacency. Walton discussed how the local community’s culture makes Bentonville unique and special. He shared ideas about balancing rapid growth with quality of life as well as the importance of the natural landscape and making meaningful connections to the environment.
Walton and Soohoo also talked about the importance of books, reading and libraries, discussing how public libraries have transformed into community spaces. Walton shared a memory of visiting Bentonville Public Library at the historic Massey Hotel as a child with his mother Lynne Walton. He acknowledged the example and support Lynne and Jim Walton have given to Bentonville and credited his parents with his success.
More than 100 people were in attendance including elected officials such as Mayor Stephanie Orman, former Mayor Terry Coberly and former Mayor Steve Marquess. Established donors, organizations, corporations and new friends helped the Library Foundation’s fundraiser to realize more than $18,000 in proceeds to support the Bentonville Public Library’s expansion project. During the evening, BLF President Howard Kerr and Library Director Hadi Dudley publicly recognized lead donors to the capital campaign.
In recent weeks, several new investments in the project have been made and will be acknowledged through naming opportunities in the library expansion. A $20,000 contribution by Cindy Flynt Walters and Betty Flynt provides naming rights to several reading nooks in the Children’s Library. Amy and Henry Alvarado committed $15,000 to name a teen group study room. The Carl and Alleen McKinney Charitable Trust is granting $10,000 to support youth services. Former Mayor Terry Black Coberly and Jody Coberly will be naming an early learning iPad area for $5,000 in the expanded children’s library. Additionally, an anonymous donor is naming the Learning Gardens and other amenities inside the Library.
Mary Baggett and Susan Anglin, Brenda Compton, Cindee and Joe Murphy, June Carter, Jeanne and Bob Boehmler, Carol and Ed Clifford and the Ozark Outdoor Foundation are also contributing to the campaign.
Recent donations combined with event proceeds totaled $98,000, bringing BLF’s campaign total to $8,593,855 in lead gifts. The private funding raised will join the City of Bentonville’s bond funds of $4.5 million toward the library’s $16.75 million expansion project.
Previous campaign announcements from the Library Foundation include a $5.5 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation. Prior contributors include Friends of the Bentonville Library, Visit Bentonville, the Bogle family, Bob and Becky Alexander, the McGaugh family, Norma Hoback Estate, the Randy Mattingly family, Mark Tate and family, Howard and Elaine Kerr, Denton and Cathy Seilhan, Doug and Shelley McMillon, Greg and Hadi Dudley, Steve and Judy Marquess and Kathy Jones.
Anthony Soohoo, Steuart Walton - Photographs by Kate Austin Photography, submitted by the Bentonville Library Foundation
Lynne Walton, Steuart Walton, Jim Walton - Photographs by Kate Austin Photography, submitted by the Bentonville Library Foundation
Howard Kerr, Elaine Kerr - Photographs by Kate Austin Photography, submitted by the Bentonville Library Foundation
Hadi Dudley, Stephanie Orman, Terry Coberly, Steve Marquess - Photographs by Kate Austin Photography, submitted by the Bentonville Library Foundation