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Quilt auction to benefit Hampshire library fundraiser group

An array quilts up for bidding hangs from rafters EllJohnsMemorial Public Library Hampshire. | Jeanie Mayer for Sun-Times Media

An array of quilts up for bidding hangs from the rafters at the Ella Johnson Memorial Public Library in Hampshire. | Jeanie Mayer for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 18, 2014 6:14AM

HAMPSHIRE — The volunteer group Ella’s Friends is working to raise money for the Ella Johnson Memorial Public Library this Christmas with a quilt auction.

But those still wishing to bid will have to act quickly. Hanging from the rafters beneath the vaulted ceiling of the library, the five colorful quilts will remain on display only until Wednesday when the bidding officially closes.

Naomi Blackburn, who serves as president of the board of directors for the Friends group, said the club has been around less than one year. She said the five-member group decided to auction off the quilts as a Christmas fundraiser.

“The auction closes on Dec. 18 to give people time to give the quilts as Christmas gifts,” Blackburn said.

Three of the five quilts were purchased for the auction, including a classic Winnie the Pooh, a Harry Potter-themed quilt featuring the four symbols of the fictional Hogwarts School, and one featuring The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Two of the quilts were donated for the event. The first is a wall-hanging featuring two horse heads; and the second, donated by Friends member Monica Soebbing, is twin bed size and features a bull’s eye quilt with emerald green backing.

“There has been some stiff bidding on a couple of the quilts,” said Kelly Sheahan, who works at the library.

“Somebody told me they are going to come in on the last day, an hour before the bidding closes and duke it out like on eBay,” she said.

Bids can be taken at the library either in person or over the phone, or by email at

Blackburn said the money generated from the auction will help pay the costs for the club to gain its 501(c)3 tax exempt status, which will help members in their fundraising efforts.

Blackburn said the next fundraising efforts by the friends group will be a spring flower sale and the second-annual book sale that will be held on April 4, 5 and 6. The group also is seeking new members to join.

“We are a group of library patrons who get together to fundraise and bring in more volunteers. We want to give back to the library that does so much for the community. Our next meeting is on Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. at the library,” Blackburn said, adding that new members are welcome to attend.

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