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Ex Libris Gala
April 30 @ 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm$125
Please join us on Sunday April 30th for our 16th Ex Libris Gala.
The Ex Libris Gala is our library’s largest annual fundraising event, and provides a significant portion of our operating budget as well as funding for special programs and projects. The evening includes a 5:30 pm reception followed by dinner and speaker at the Woodstock Inn. Tickets for the event are available at $125 per person. Click Here for Tickets and additional information.
This year’s speaker is author and long-time Woodstock resident, Mimi Baird.
Mimi Baird is a graduate of Colby-Sawyer College. While working as a manager at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, she met a surgeon who had once known her father, which prompted her quest to finally understand her father’s life and legacy. Her first book, He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter’s Quest to Know Him, was published in 2015. The book is being adapted for the screen by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, with a screenplay written by Tony Kushner.
At the dinner, Mimi Baird will talk about her book, her father and dealing with mental illness. The event is open to all and invitations are being sent to previous attendees and library patrons. Information about invitations is available here or by emailing or calling Michael Ricci at the library, firstname.lastname@example.org or 457-2295, extension 126.
The Ex Libris Dinner is the library’s major fund-raising event. While the institution is called a “public library,” and receives less than 40 percent of its support from public funds, it is in fact a private entity operated by a board and its corporators. Fund raising, grants, gifts, fees and its endowment supply the bulk of the library’s budget.
The library in recent years has increasingly become a community gathering place with a wide variety of programs and services. Every month last year, 700 to 1200 children, youth, parents, grandparents and caregivers attended nearly 400 programs at the library. The free programs included author readings from books and poetry, exhibits of the works of local artists, memoir writing and gardening classes, children story hours, pre-literacy and discussions around community building.
The library has also increasingly focused on digital literacy and applications, providing individual tutorials, and informational technology training.
Of roughly 3,000 Woodstock residents, some 2,000 are active library cardholders. The 71,000 visits to the library last year represent an 11 percent increase over prior years. About 45,000 books and materials circulated in 2016, about half from the children and youth collections.
About the Author & Book
Texas-born and Harvard-educated, Dr. Perry Baird was a rising medical star in the late 1920s and 1930s. Early in his career, ahead of his time, he grew fascinated with identifying the biochemical root of manic depression, just as he began to suffer from it himself. By the time the results of his groundbreaking experiments were published, Dr. Baird had been institutionalized multiple times, his medical license revoked, and his wife and daughters estranged. He later received a lobotomy and died from a consequent seizure, his research incomplete, his achievements unrecognized.
Mimi Baird grew up never fully knowing this story, as her family went silent about the father who had been absent for most of her childhood. Decades later, a string of extraordinary coincidences led to the recovery of a manuscript which Dr. Baird had worked on throughout his brutal institutionalization, confinement, and escape. This remarkable document, reflecting periods of both manic exhilaration and clearheaded health, presents a startling portrait of a man who was a uniquely astute observer of his own condition, struggling with a disease for which there was no cure, racing against time to unlock the key to treatment before his illness became impossible to manage.
Fifty years after being told her father would forever be “ill” and “away,” Mimi Baird set off on a quest to piece together the memoir and the man. In time her fingers became stained with the lead of the pencil he had used to write his manuscript, as she devoted herself to understanding who he was, why he disappeared, and what legacy she had inherited. The result of his extraordinary record and her journey to bring his name to light is He Wanted the Moon, an unforgettable testament to the reaches of the mind and the redeeming power of a determined heart.
“Extraordinary…utterly impossible to put down.” – The New York Times
“One of the great father-daughter books of our time.” – Pat Conroy
“Fascinating…cinematic…poignant…” – The Washington Post