Library Foundation for Sarasota County raises more than $350,000 at annual ‘Love Our Libraries’ luncheon

More than 500 guests altogether enjoy remarks of Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Charlayne Hunter-Gault are seen at the Library Foundation for Sarasota County’s Love Our Libraries luncheon on Feb. 3. Contributed photo

The Library Foundation for Sarasota County welcomed 430 guests in-person and 100 additional live-streaming guests when it presented its annual Love Our Libraries Author Luncheon at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium on Feb. 3, the Foundation has reported.

The guest speaker was Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, author, literary scholar, and creator and host of the groundbreaking PBS genealogy series Finding Your Roots, a news release points out. “His talk was followed by a question-and-answer session led by Charlayne Hunter-Gault, a Sarasota resident and former foreign correspondent for CNN, NPR and PBS,” the release adds.

The Love Our Libraries luncheon raised more than $350,000, which will go toward the purchase of books and digital resources to be used throughout the Sarasota County library system, free books mailed monthly to hundreds of Sarasota’s youngest residents through the Library Foundation’s partnership with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, and innovative programs such as the Creation Stations that are now in nine of Sarasota County’s 10 library branches, the release explains.

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County was the presenting sponsor of the Feb. 3 event.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the nonprofit Library Foundation for Sarasota County has raised more than $8 million in private funds since its founding in 2011 for the benefit of Sarasota County public libraries, the release notes.

“With the conviction that great communities deserve great libraries, we are proud to champion strong public libraries, support innovation and help to extend the library system’s reach for everyone in Sarasota County,” said Alisa Mitchell, the Library Foundation’s executive director, in the release.

To learn more about the Library Foundation for Sarasota County and how individuals can get involved, in its work visit or call 941-404-3139.