BISBEE — After canceling the Altered Books Auction because of COVID-19 last year, this year Friends of the Copper Queen Library decided to hold the annual fundraiser in a virtual setting online and it was well received.

“We were really thrilled with the online auction,” said Cathy Clifton, FCQL secretary. “Everything went well. We knew we probably wouldn’t make as much money for the library on a virtual event as we have on the live ones, but we feel that keeping up these traditional events that the community enjoys is important. It gives people something fun to look forward to and still raises badly needed funding for our library.”

Clifton said the auction of 51 items of art were displayed at Central School Project as well as online. Each entry had to have an aspect of using old books. Though they knew they probably would not draw the same interest, it still was a productive event and pulled in $4,600, just shy of the $5,000 goal they hoped to raise.

And that was, in part, thanks to Bisbee local Ali Zigarelli, who manned the auction webpage.

“We were so lucky to have a pro on hand to help,” she added.

One of the more popular entries that saw a lot of action was a nightstand called “Fantastic Beasts” made by Damaris Bernhard, Clifton said. It had excerpts from the “Harry Potter” series and other fantasy books.

Another popular entry by former Bisbeeite Irene Newlon was snatched up and then donated to the Copper Queen Library. It was an imaginative diorama of a corner in a library, complete with miniature tables, chairs, wall hangings, shelves and books and is now on display at the Old Bisbee location.

Clifton noted library manager Jason Macoviak and library program coordinator Alison Williams are trying to establish a little art gallery for local artists. The diorama adds to the collection.

All profits from the benefit support the free programs at the Copper Queen Library and the satellite branch in San Jose. The main library was voted America’s Best Small Library in 2019 by the Library Journal and Williams and Mocoviak have been recognized for the expansion of patrons, programs and the collections of books, CDs, videos, DVDs, periodicals and more.

The library offers an array of free programming, much of it bilingual, in downtown Old Bisbee on Main Street and at the San Jose Annex on Melody Lane. FCQL also supports the popular Summer Reading Program, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math classes (STEAM), the Seed Library, Library of Things, WiFi Hot Spots, Freewrite and the newly–introduced free Kanopy Streaming Service.

For information on the libraries and programs, visit the website at: https://www.bisbeeaz.gov/2155/Copper-Queen-Library or call 520-432–4232.