Keeler Library’s annual Cooks & Books Party and Library Fair set to return


Food and books. The Ruth Keeler Memorial Library has a pair of delightful upcoming events that put the spotlight on this winning combination.

The library's annual Cooks & Book's Cocktail Party, hosted by the Library Board of Trustees, kicks off the weekend on Friday, May 12 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. “It was an imaginative idea from some of our trustees many years ago and is still very popular, featuring delicious dishes, appetizers, and drinks cooked and served by community members,” said Jen Gileno, Assistant Director. “Some of the trustees participate as either a cook or a bartender. The weekend is a big fundraiser for the library, but it’s also a fun, small-town community event to which all are invited. It has grown every year.”

Attendees will have the opportunity to sample a variety of tasty treats while mingling with like-minded individuals who share a passion for food and books. This year, more than 26 cooks will be making dishes ranging from fish cakes, meatballs, and Asian chicken burgers to ramp pesto, stuffed mushrooms, veggie crudites and ribs, and there will also be a grazing table. “The Cooks & Books party is casual, with friends and neighbors passing the goodies they prepared and tending the bar, so it really helps people connect,” said Gileno. This year a live DJ will be playing popular tunes.

In addition to the culinary delights, guests will also have a first look at the huge assortment of books that are for sale at the library book sale. There will be hundreds of choices from fiction, travel, cooking, gardening and music to politics and religion – all donated by the North Salem community.

“We encourage all to come out and meet their fellow neighbors and to help us celebrate. Whether you’re a foodie, a book lover, or simply looking for a fun and social evening out, the Cooks & Books Cocktail Party is not to be missed!” Gileno said.

The weekend concludes with an exciting return of the annual Library Fair on Saturday, May 13. The event is jointly sponsored by The Board of Trustees and The Friends of Ruth Keeler Memorial Library. The event is chock full of entertainment and activities. Music will be performed by Wanna Be Mick. Kids will enjoy meeting some exotic pets from Animal Embassy and participating in crafts provided by the North Salem Recreation department. In addition, Andy Hat, from the North Salem apiary will have a live bee display and Primos Picaduros food truck will be serving up buffalo chicken, beef rellenos, yellow rice, pink beans and more. “It will be a relaxed atmosphere and fun for folks of all ages and families,” said Gileno.

Book lovers of all ages will appreciate browsing the wide selection of donated books that will be available for purchase. Pricing ranges from fifty cents to ten dollars along with some specially-marked items. The fair will be held outdoors; the book sale will be in the library.

Residents are encouraged to stop at the new Book Mark Café, a place to enjoy an assortment of baked goods, savory items and hot and cold beverages in a relaxing, café-style atmosphere “The Friends of Ruth Keeler Memorial Library have historically hosted the bake sale section of the library fair,” noted Gileno, who is also President of the Friends, but this year have re-branded it to create a more elevated experience.

A plant sale will feature hanging baskets, perennials, and herbs. Also, Cynthia Curtis’ popular tomatoes will be making a return appearance! “Cynthia Curtis, the ‘tomato lady’, is a 45-year North Salem resident involved in many organizations. She’s a former trustee and treasurer of the library and the current chair of the Planning Board,” said Susie Thompson, Board Trustee. “Every year she raises a large variety of heirloom tomatoes from seed and sells about 500 plants from orders and at the fair. She brings back the best varieties from the year before and adds new ones each year. All of her work and the proceeds go to the library,” said Thompson.

It’s shaping up to be a fun weekend at the Ruth Keeler Memorial Library to enjoy some food, socialize, add to your reading list, and support the Library. “Plus, you can meet all the wonderful volunteers who run our community organizations,” said Gileno.

Cooks & Books takes place on Friday, May 12, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tickets can be pre-ordered for $50.00; $70.00 at the door.

Ruth Keeler Memorial Library Fair takes place on Saturday, May 13, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

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