Greenpoint Gazette

The Desk Set’s Mardi Gras Benefit at Daddy’s

BY Elizabeth Brady

Daddy’s on Graham Avenue was in the full Mardi Gras spirit on Tuesday, with beads draped on chairs, balloons hanging on the ceiling, and other party décor flooding the space. But the bar wasn’t garnished just for debauchery. The evening’s main draw was a book drive, sponsored by NYC-based literary advocacy group the Desk Set.

The beneficiary of the Mardi Gras book drive is A.P. Tureaud Elementary, a public school in New Orleans serving students pre-K through 6th grade. Like many other schools in its district, A.P. Tureaud is still feeling the effects of Hurricane Katrina. The teachers at the school want their students to be able to build their own libraries at home and have more books in the classrooms, and the Desk Set obliged to help make that dream come true.

This was the second year that the Desk Set held a fundraiser for the school. LaToye Brown, a teacher at A.P. Tureaud, said that last year’s books “have been integral in establishing a culture of literacy here at the school.”
Donations were initially received on Amazon.com, where a wishlist was compiled for A.P. Tureaud students. At the Mardi Gras event at Daddy’s, a hard copy of the wishlist was available for browsing, and cash donations were accepted as well. Book donors were given complimentary drinks and raffle tickets – for prize items courtesy of The Strand bookstore, Daddy’s bar and even the DJs at the event.

Ultimately, 206 books were purchased both online and at the party – and Desk Set founder Maria Falgoust couldn’t have been prouder. She grew up outside of New Orleans, so the spirit of Mardi Gras and the efforts to replenish the schools books has special significance.

“We really want people to know that this is more than just a party,” the Desk Set’s Sarah Murphy said on Tuesday.

Founded in 2006 by Falgoust and Murphy, the Desk Set’s primary objective is to provide a fun and productive community for people who share an interest in books, literacy and libraries. The core members of the organization are librarians or library science students, but the group encourages anyone with a passion for the subject matter to participate.

About four or five times a year the Desk Set orchestrates fundraisers to support organizations like Books Through Bars, the New Orleans Public Library, Behind the Book and Passages Academy. The Desk Set members have been coming to Daddy’s for years, and have a great relationship with the bar’s owners, who have helped them organize past projects.

The next Desk Set event will be a Readers’ and Writers’ Mingle & Book Swap evening on March 30th at Pacific Standard in Park Slope. For more information, visit http://thedeskset.org/wordpress/ or email thedeskset@gmail.com.

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