Paint the Town REaD! 40th Anniversary Ruby Gala

The Smithsonian Institution Libraries sealed the 40thanniversary celebratory year by hosting a black-tie “Paint the Town REaD!” Ruby Gala at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture on October 30, 2008.  The event took place in the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard, situated between the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. It was attended by 250 SIL staff, guests and friends.  Secretary G. Wayne Clough spoke about the importance of libraries at the event, and also presented former First Lady Laura Bush with the Smithsonian Institution Libraries Sunburst Award for her support of libraries and learning. Although Mrs. Bush was unable to come to the Gala, she graciously accepted her award via a video produced by the White House, which was shown to all attendees on a large screen. Best-selling author David Baldacci was the keynote speaker at the anniversary celebration. Guests participated in a silent auction throughout the event, winning items such as behind-the-scenes tours of museums and tickets to programs including “The Colbert Report.”

 The Ruby Gala commemorated the inception of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries by Secretary S. Dillon Ripley in 1968. Since this time, SIL has expanded to house over 1.75 million volumes, including 40,000 rare books. Our librarians and collections can be found in 20 libraries in renowned museums and facilities, such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Gallery, the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, the National Postal Museum, and the National Museum of the American Indian. Proceeds from the Ruby Gala provided funds for an endowment to support acquisitions for the art libraries.