Gathering of the bling once again benefits library


– Photos by Cynthia Price except where noted

By Cynthia Price

Does organizer Carol Ann Balcom want to talk about all the beautiful beads and wearable art being sold at the annual Bling Thing in the upstairs ballroom of the Century Club Retail Center? Or the silky scarves, the beautiful dresses, even the inexpensive grab bags of jewelry?

No, what she would like to tell you about is everything the Friends have done for Hackley Public Library.

The Friends of Hackley Public Library have been around since 1973, and the Bling Thing held last Saturday is one of their big fund-raisers. (Others include the Trail of Michigan Authors at Barnes and Noble and the on-going “Second Hand Prose” book sale in the library itself.)

Among the things the proceeds go toward funding are free programs for children and adults throughout the year, on everything from history to technology; the Hackley Distinguished Lecture in the Humanities which yearly brings in an interesting speaker who has a connection to Muskegon; and upgrades and maintenance for the beautiful old building that is the library.

In the recent past, the Friends gave $190,000 for the acquisition and renovations of the Torrent House, where the Local History and Genealogy Department are, and $120,000 to restore the stained glass windows, among other projects. They are currently raising money to help create a community gathering space on the lower level.

The other thing Balcom would like to talk about is what a good turnout there was for this year’s Bling Thing. “It was packed last night,” she says about the night-before party that has a $10 entrance fee and offers wine and chocolate.

On Saturday, not only is there no admission, but after 12:15 p.m. everything is half price. The big group of volunteers who run it make everything fun, from the hearts on the paper bags where people put treasures to the individually marked price tags.

Balcom says that they hold over hardly anything once the sale is over, preferring to donate it and start fresh the next year.


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