America’s public libraries have a long history of philanthropic support, with many libraries owing their origins to Andrew Carnegie’s largess. Public funds make libraries possible, but it is often through private gifts that they flourish.
For the Olathe Public Library, this sentiment holds true. Since 2000, the Olathe Public Library Foundation’s mission has been to ensure the Olathe Public Library System remains a vital community resource. Established by former Library Board President Cliff Tatham and his wife, Elaine, the organization provides long-term supplemental funding to enhance library services and programs beyond what is possible through traditional tax-based funding. To date, the Foundation has given more than $330,000 to the Library, sponsoring new collections, summer reading initiatives, innovative technology and accessible equipment.
Grants to the library are awarded each year at the Foundation’s annual fundraiser dinner and author event “A Taste of Literacy.”
This year’s “A Taste of Literacy “event will be virtual with a presentation from father-daughter pair, Bill James and Rachel McCarthy James, authors of the true crime book, The Man From the Train: the Solving of a Century-old Serial Killer Mystery. Using analytical skills he learned as a legendary baseball statistician, Bill James and his daughter, Rachel McCarthy James investigated a rash of axe murders which happened across the country between 1898 and 1912. Some cases, like the Villasca, Iowa murders received national headlines, while others that fit similar patterns remained in obscurity until the Jameses unearthed articles, transcripts and public records that pointed to a commonality —the proximity to a train station.
During the Foundation event, the Jameses will share their research methods and their astonishing conclusion that reveals not only that the crimes were related, but also the true identity of the serial killer.
“A Taste of Literacy” will take place on Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 6:00 pm on Zoom. Individual tickets are $25 each. Sponsorships are available starting at $300. Take home dinners will be provided to sponsors. Tickets and sponsorships can be purchased at www.olathelibrary.org/tasteofliteracy.