• Marcy Farrey

A Literary Evening at One for the Books

Winning tickets to the One for the Books event was the cherry on top of our literary day.

I was one of the lucky winners of tickets to this year’s “One for the Books” event, a celebration of books to benefit the Chicago Literacy Alliance. It was fitting that the event was held on Independent Bookstore Day, and it was a great way to cap off a literary holiday!

This was the second year that the Chicago Literacy Alliance transformed its Literacenter for the event, making room for live music, drinks, a silent auction, and a showcase of books that attendees would have the opportunity to take home.

As someone who has attended a few silent auctions and nonprofit fundraisers over the years, I liked the format for this one – it felt cozy and free of any stuffiness. Of course, the literary aspect is an easy way to win me over, but it is always nice when you stumble into something you didn’t expect. And when they said you get to take home a book – they meant it!

The focus was on unique books (first editions and signed) and book art. The tables that lined the walls were decorated with books of all genres, and they were all possible options for an attendee to take home. This is how it worked:

  • You picked up a colored wristband at the door (blue, yellow, or red)

  • The wristband had a number on it that you could text to donate money to the Chicago Literacy Alliance

  • Whichever group (blue, green, or yellow) raised the most money would get to select a book first, and then the next highest group would select second, and the last group third.

  • When the group was called, individuals walked to the book they wanted, and if they were the first there, they got to take it home!

As you browsed the tables and examined the books, there were digital screens showing the current status of the fundraising efforts, encouraging some friendly competition. You also were able to browse the silent auction items (a variety of gift packages) at your leisure. I enjoyed the pace of the event -- it had structure, but I never felt rushed.

As someone who helps put on a yearly conference for a nonprofit association, I have to admit that I was mentally taking notes about the vibe the team at the Chicago Literacy Alliance created – right down to the literary table centerpieces (I really loved those)! They really created a cozy space at the Literacenter, and they also got points from us for serving so many vegetarian-friendly appetizers.

Thank you to the Chicago Literacy Alliance for hosting a great event and for doing a raffle for free tickets – it was great to have the opportunity to attend after a successful Independent Bookstore Day!

About the Chicago Literacy Alliance

The Chicago Literacy Alliance is an association of more than 120 organizations helping meet the literacy needs for people of all ages and backgrounds in the Chicago area. Working together, they envision a 100% literate Chicago. Visit their website to learn more and donate!

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