Tickets - $175

Thursday, October 25, 2018

J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, O'Hara Hall, 7th Floor, 1515 Young Street

For decades, Dallas’ own Lawrence Wright has explained the world to Texas, earning a Pulitzer Prize and acclaim as one of America’s most important writers. Now the Woodrow Wilson High School graduate is explaining Texas to the world. His latest bestseller, God Save Texas, weaves memoir, history, humor and politics into a fascinating look at our state. “It’s a testament to Wright’s formidable storytelling skills that a reader will encounter plenty of information without ever feeling lost,” praised The New York Times. Join us for an appetizing dinner and an absorbing evening as we celebrate two of our favorite things: Texas and the Dallas Public Library. 

An Evening with Lawrence Wright Benefiting The Dallas Public Library

May Dickson Exall Award Winner - Charlene Howell

Charlene Howell, a longtime champion of libraries and literacy in Dallas – and possibly our most well-read citizen – will be honored with the May Dickson Exall Award at the Friends of the Dallas Public Library annual gala on Thursday, October 25.

Among her achievements, Ms. Howell has served on the FODPL executive board and advisory council for nearly four decades and helped library branches establish individual Friends groups, organize book sales and raise money. She spearheaded a citywide book drive to restock library shelves during a budget crunch in the 1980s and organized a conference on African-American literature in 1990 that included Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison.  

Ms. Howell's career achievements include establishing an engineering library at Frito Lay, Inc., in the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and as executive director of The Rosewood Foundation, which supports arts, education, environmental causes and organizations that help disadvantaged children and their families.

In 1899, the idea to create a free public library in Dallas was conceived by the Dallas Federation of Women's Clubs, led by president Mrs. Henry (May Dickson) Exall. She helped raise $11,000 from gifts from public school teachers, local businessmen, and Alfred Horatio Belo of The Dallas Morning News. May Dickson Exall, a native Texan, campaigned for the establishment of the Dallas Public Library and was its first president.  The library became a reality when Mrs. Exall requested and received a $50,000 grant from philanthropist and steel giant Andrew Carnegie to construct the first library building in Dallas. On October 20, 1901, the Carnegie library opened at the corner of Harwood and Commerce streets with a head librarian, three assistants, and 9,852 volumes. The first story held the entire collection; the second floor held the Carnegie Hall auditorium and an Art Room. The art room was the first public art gallery in Dallas and eventually became what is known today as the Dallas. Ms. Exall died in 1936.