The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

December 8, 2013

Library fundraiser ushers in holiday season

By Karen Middleton

— Dozens of Athens-Limestone Public Library supporters came out Friday night to help usher in the holiday season and to raise money for a favorite cause.

Jim and Kristi Christopher opened their historic home on North Jefferson Street for the ALPL Foundation’s second annual Holiday Party.

Tastefully opulent Christmas decorations set in natural greenery were in keeping with the stately, 93-year-old home.

Built in 1920 by W.J. Hagan Jr., and briefly used as a hospital before being purchased by Judy and Van Gilbert in 1942 and Jim Christopher in 1989, the home bore no resemblance to a hospital.

No sterile white uniforms or surgical draping of bygone days was evident Friday night. Everyone came out in their seasonal finery to nibble on delicacies by restaurateur and caterer Scott Curry of Decatur and to sip fine wines or soft drinks.

Travis Smith of Smith Farms provided the floral designs, which included hundreds of long-stemmed red roses among the greenery. Violinist Winslow Davis performed the background music.

Construction on the old Kroger’s building on South Jefferson Street is expected to be completed by June. There is nothing but location to remind residents of the old supermarket. The $2.7 million Phase I includes a limestone and stucco façade with brilliant white lettering, making it a dream come true for hundreds of devoted readers and library supporters in the community.

Officials will let bids for Phase II in December, according to Library Director Paula Laurita.

Upon departing Friday night’s festivities, guests were each presented an Adams Owl Bookmark that hostess Kristi Christopher purchased from the Library of Congress. The bookmark is a replica of the handsome Art Deco owl that keeps watch over the Science, Technology and Business Reading Room door in the John Adams building.

The owl, an ancient symbol of learning and wisdom, appears often in the decoration of the Library of Congress, especially in the Adams Building.

To view more photos from the party, visit The News Courier's photo gallery at!i=2956334854&k=J77C5SQ.