The following is the story of how a few dedicated lunatics turned The Trumbull Library in Trumbull, Connecticut into an 18-hole miniature golf course, earned $10,000 for hurricane victims, and staged the biggest event in the library’s history…pretty much by accident. In addition, we've added throughout this article, new ideas and thoughts on best practices from the numerous tournaments that have followed the inaugural event.
During the extensive coverage of Hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2005, news stations aired reports from Gulf Coast libraries caught in the path of the storm. The Trumbull Library Foundation had only recently been formed to support our own library and we were still casting about for our precise mission. Someone suggested we stage a “Gulf event” to raise money for hurricane victims. Another foundation member, betraying a youth misspent on the links, responded, “Golf event? Count me in!” By the time the confusion cleared, the words “Gulf” and “Golf” were inextricably linked, setting in motion perhaps the only charitable event ever generated by a verbal typo.
We considered and rejected the idea of an outdoor tournament. Winter was coming on, and we wanted something that would showcase the library and emphasize the library-to-library spirit of this project. Then it occurred to us: why not build a miniature golf course using the stacks, reading areas and ramps as fairways? We broached the idea with head librarian, Karen Ronald (since departed to Fairfield), half-hoping she would talk some sense into us. Instead, she threw her full support and boundless enthusiasm into the project, even locating the library in Waveland, Mississippi that would benefit from whatever money we raised.
Despite a postponement due to a blizzard, a visit from fire trucks involving peanut oil in the concession area (don’t ask), and numerous lesser obstacles, Golf for the Gulf, staged on Sunday, March 19, 2006, was an unqualified success, and one of the most talked-about events of the year in Trumbull.
The event succeeded in…
First and foremost, raising nearly $10,000, all of which went in the form of an unrestricted donation to the Waveland Library.
Drawing more than 400 visitors to the library on a single day, including many first time visitors. It was by far the largest event ever held at the library.
Generating significant media coverage for the event and for the library, both leading up to and after the event. Coverage included local and regional newspapers, television and radio. Some of the publicity can be viewed HERE.
Offering Trumbull and surrounding towns a fun and positive way to come together for an important event, reinforcing the idea of the town library as a gathering place for the community.