Library to host ghost- themed 21-plus fundraiser

The lives of Edgar Allan Poe and Reisterstown founder John Reister didn't overlap, but on Oct. 10, the two historic figures will be able to share a drink at A Toast Among Ghosts at the Reisterstown branch of the Baltimore County Public Library.

The figures might just be represented by impersonators, but the fun being planned for this adults-only evening is quite real.


The event is being put on as a fundraiser by the Foundation for the Baltimore County Public Library, a nonprofit founded in 1998 to help raise funds for the BCPL.

"It'll be Oct. 10 from 7 to 10 p.m.; it's going to be held outside in our parking lot and we have coordinated with the Reisterstown United Methodist Church that has a parking lot … so we can have cars parked there," Reisterstown branch manager Abigail Cooley said. "We will be having live music and we will be selling alcohol — adult beverages — and there'll be some food vendors selling things as well, both sweet and savory treats."


Admission for the 21-and-older event is $15 in advance and $20 at the door. It will feature wine and beer available for sale, live music, vendors selling food, and impersonators. The Edgar Allan Poe impersonator will also recite poetry at the event.

Vendors include The Cow, Icedgems and Genova's To-Go, all of Reistersown. Proceeds from the alcohol sales will benefit the foundation.

The library is also partnering with the Reisterstown Community Cemetery, which will be offering free cemetery tours to event guests.

"Well we're neighbors with the cemetery and the cemetery ties into the spooky Edgar Allan Poe, his poetry [themes], so we're just tying those two together. It's our neighbor and it goes with the theme," Cooley said.

Chris Larkins, president of the cemetery's board of trustees, said it's great that the library is including the cemetery in the event.

"I think we should do more stuff together. We're beside each other and at one time we were linked with the fact that the school used to be inside the cemetery property and that the library then was a school. In 1824, they separated off of the original building that was the church and the school and then they had the church by itself. So I believe we're kind of linked and we always will be linked," he said.

The event was planned to tie into not just the spookiness of the season, but also the anniversary Poe's death.

"[Poe] died on October 7 in 1849, so that's kind of the tie-in of why we're involving Poe. And the local folklore is that Edgar Allan Poe had at one point applied to be the headmaster of the Franklin Academy, and the … Reisterstown library, the building the library's in, is the original Franklin Academy," Cooley said.


The October evening event wouldn't be complete without some seasonal decorations.

"We're going to use lanterns for decoration and then the parking lot lights. The cemetery will be all decorated with lanterns," said Linda Frederick, marketing manager for the BCPL.

Frederick said the event fits the foundation's objective and the BCPL's strategic plan to reach young adults.

"We thought this would be a good kickoff event to attract more of a millennial audience," she said.

"There's a lot of things that the library offers for 20-somethings or 30-somethings … and we're trying to bring those people back in as part of our strategic plan and let them know what the library has to offer."

Cooley said the primary mission of the event "is to attract an older crowd."


The library holds a great deal of programs for children, but it also has a lot to offer the adult crowd, and Cooley said she's hoping that will be emphasized through A Toast Among Ghosts.

"I think the library is way more than just for kids and I'm sure there are people that still don't even know the library is here, which is why we want to be an integral part of the community and provide programs that serve the community," she said.

In addition to reaching a younger audience, Frederick said, the event also meets other important objectives.

"Well [reaching millenials is] part of the foundation's mission but also it's part of BCPL's strategic plan as well as trying to build more community partnerships, which we think this does, with … the cemetery, the church, the local businesses. So this one event meets a lot of our goals that we're trying to accomplish," she said.

Larkins said he'll be attending the event, and he said he's interested to see what the foundation puts together.

"Actually I'm looking forward to see what they're doing. I really don't know exactly what they're getting into … I want to see what all they're doing and how they promote it and I want to see the turnout. That's what I'm anxious to see. This time of year with all the festivals and the Music on Main Street has been a huge success — and we have the corn roast coming up; there's been a lot to promote the area, so I'm interested [to see the turnout]," he said.


Frederick said she's hoping to get about 200 people at the event.

Even if she wasn't a library employee, Cooley said, she would be one of those attendees.

"I just think it's going to be a fun event — as a local resident, too — I think it's something that I'd be excited to go to even if I wasn't associated with the library. A nice fall evening with some food and drinks and music and some education tied into local history. I think it's going to be a great time," she said.



If you go:

What: A Toast among Ghosts — 21 and older only

Where: The Reisterstown branch of the BCPL, 21 Cockeys Mill Road, Reisterstown

When: 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 10

Cost: $15 in advance; $20 at the door

For more information or to buy tickets: Visit