Some people are just so meaningful to an organization they deserve to be recognized. “Sally Rhoads is pretty remarkable,” says Linda Welles, president of Elting Memorial Library’s board of trustees. “She is a real hero to the library, in many ways. More than 30 years ago she took hold of the book fair and made it into a sizable event; the library fair is our biggest fundraiser now, and the book fair is the largest part of that. She’s the person who made it into something very special for the community, and of course, for the library.”
Not only that, says Welles, Rhoads, as a longtime trustee of the library, was instrumental in heading the capital fund campaign a decade ago. “Without her we would not have the library we have today. She is really a key person in our history.”
It’s no wonder, then, that Sally Rhoads has been selected to be the guest of honor at this weekend’s “Evening Under the Stars” event, Saturday, June 10 at 7 p.m., under the tents at the library’s Vera Rushforth Courtyard Garden. Hors d’oeuvres and a buffet will be provided by Agnes Deveraux’s Village TeaRoom Restaurant and Bake Shop, and wine by Fox & Hound Wine and Spirits. Tickets cost $85, available at the library in advance, and at the door, if not sold out.
“We’re hoping the event will be as wonderful as it was the first time we did this three years ago, when we honored Carol [Roper] and Mike [Beck],” says Welles. “The courtyard gets transformed into a magical place, with white tablecloths and twinkling little white lights. It’s very elegant. The Bernstein Bard Trio will provide live music and it’ll just be a nice evening of socializing and celebrating Sally. And everyone is welcome.”
A tribute journal has been started at the library to record the community’s well wishes for Rhoads. Entries will be published in a program for the event.
In addition to her contributions to the library, Rhoads has demonstrated real commitment to the entire community of New Paltz, says Welles. “Her energy and caring for this community are just exceptional.”
Along with serving on the New Paltz Central School District Board of Education for many years – instrumental in her time as president of the board in getting Lenape Elementary School built, says Welles – Rhoads has been a village trustee and a founding member and later president of the Lifetime Learning Institute of New Paltz, a continuing education program for those age 55 and older.
“Sally has also been a big supporter of our historical collection in the library,” says Welles.
“Evening Under the Stars” will serve to generate funds for the library’s operation. Elting Memorial gets 80 percent of its budget from taxes, leaving 20 percent that must be raised through donations and special events. “This is not the kind of fundraiser that the library fair is, but every little bit helps,” Welles says. “We’re honoring Sally, but at the same time, if we can raise some money to support the things that are important to Sally and to all of us, that’s all to the good.”
“Evening Under the Stars” will be held under the tents rain or shine. More info is available by calling (845) 255-5030, or visit eltinglibrary.org.