2017 Dinner in the Library Gala Raises Significant Support for Smart Learning Spaces

Tammy, Patchett, Chancellor

UC San Diego’s 14th annual Dinner in the Library lived up to its reputation as the premier campus event for lovers of libraries and books. Hosted by Interim University Librarian, Tammy Nickelson Dearie, the yearly tradition transformed the first floor of Geisel Library into an elegant cocktail and dining area amidst book collections and study spaces.

Drawing a crowd of more than 160 library friends and supporters, the gala raised $205,000 to support the Geisel Library Revitalization Initiative (GLRI), which will  transform the 1st, 2nd, and 8th floors of Geisel Library to benefit student learning and research. Dearie gave special thanks to all those who generously supported this year’s Dinner, especially lead sponsor Audrey Geisel, and Jeanne Jones, who chaired the Dinner’s honorary committee for the second consecutive year.

This year’s keynote speaker, international best-selling author Ann Patchett mesmerized the audience as she described her evolving relationship with books and how she became a champion for independent bookstores. In 2011, Patchett opened her own bookstore—Parnassus Books in Nashville—at a time when bookstores were closing all over America. Very few people thought she would make it in an era of superstores and mass merchandisers such as Amazon, but she prevailed. The store has doubled in size and now there’s a second outpost of Parnassus Books at the Nashville airport.

“People who don’t use their libraries think there isn’t a need for libraries. We know differently,” said Patchett. “We’re living in a world where we can get everything we want with a click. That has made us more isolated and more polarized. What we really need is more common space; what we need are places where we can come together with our different ideas and see each other in our humanity.”

The theme for this year’s event – “Going to the Top,” reflects the Library’s goal of holding next year’s event on the Library’s 8th floor which will shortly undergo renovations to create an enhanced silent study lounge and marquee event space. Guests enjoyed a lively cocktail hour, an exquisite dinner and dessert reception, mingled with three undergraduate students who shared their award-winning research, and had a sneak peek of the beautiful renderings of the 8th floor.

“Our campus is being transformed both physically and intellectually. As we look around, libraries around the country are having a transformation too,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “No longer are they just holders of books, they are town squares, they convene communities, they convene students. We want to take this Library and make it the exemplary Library that shows the way to the rest of the country as to where libraries are going.”

The GLRI was launched in July 2015 with a generous $3 million gift from Audrey Geisel. Given the significance of the initiative to student learning and the campus overall, Chancellor Khosla will match gifts raised up to $1 million, doubling the impact of donations. If you are interested in learning more about this initiative and how you can contribute, click here.

The next Dinner in the Library will be held in September 2018. To view snapshots from the 2017 event, click here. Ann Patchett’s entire talk is now viewable on the UCTV Library Channel, here.