National Library Week: Local library preps for big ramp dinner fundraiser

TENNERTON — The pungent aroma of ramps will soon fill the Upshur County Public Library while dinner-goers feast on a variety of dishes prepared by 88 Restaurant and Lounge chefs  from 5-8 p.m. on April 20.

The annual culinary extravaganza has been held annually since 1995 and is a main fundraiser for the library. Tickets are $20 per person.

This year’s menu includes stir-fried ramps, ramp chowder, ramp quiche and mixed green salad with a bacon and ramp vinaigrette. There will also be tavern ham, red roasted potatoes, cornbread, dinner rolls, apple dumplings and a peach-blueberry cobbler, coffee, iced tea and water.

To make reservations, call the library at 304-473-4219 during library hours or stop by the reservation desk. Library hours are 10 a.m. through 8 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

Interim library director Paul Norko is looking forward to his first ramp culinary extravaganza amongst the library shelves.

“I came in from out of state so before this I had never even seen a ramp before,” he said. Since then, Norko has tried a ramp dish but the April 20 dinner will be his first time tasting fresh ramps.

The library receives funding through the Upshur County Commission (about $36,000) and about $93,000 from Upshur County Board of Education. 

“The board of education gives us more than they are required to give us which we are very thankful for,” he said. “We would hope that continues. We also get money from the state because we are a service center which oversees 13 other libraries not just in Upshur but in several surrounding counties as well.”

Norko said the library’s ramp dinner will help the library with some additional projects including the purchase of new materials.

“New books come out every week and it’s a marathon, not a race,” he said. “We have to have money coming in throughout the year in order to be able to have the best sellers which is what most everyone wants.

“We have several projects we are doing to help enhance our services,” he said. “We would love to be able to enhance our bandwidth for one thing, but that costs us money. Right now, our bandwidth is given to us for free by the state so anything over that we have to pay for.”

“Since I took over as interim director in February, we have made several changes,” he said.  One of those is finishing the new young adult section up the ramp. Another is making the library’s ordering process more transparent.

“You should be able to start placing holds on books that are being released within the next month ahead of time now,” he said.

Along with the ramp dinner, the Friends of the Library, under president Ann Slaughter, has organized a basket raffle with the drawing to be held on April 20. The baskets have been on display at the library since April 2 and tickets for $1 each or $5 for six tickets can be purchased during library hours.

The library will close at 2 p.m. Friday, April 20 to allow staff to set up for the dinner.

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