Books, Beer…and Connection


“This event deepens relationships and makes collaboration possible.”


Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation’s Friends Council began its Final Draught series in 2017 with a simple goal: To connect new audiences with the Library by inviting diverse and charismatic local thought leaders to discuss a wide range of topics. With generous sponsorship from Red Ventures, Final Draught has become a hot ticket, featuring topics ranging from the local food scene to side hustles in the gig economy to authentic leadership. Audiences come for the beer, the books, the topics…and increasingly, the networking.

The formula works. Betsy Hauser Idilbi, the CEO and Co-founder of Tech Talent South, was a panelist at Final Draught: Women Changing Charlotte in March, 2018. Hers is one of many stories of opportunities born of connections made at the event. “I was blown away by the level of engagement, and the diversity of folks in the room. I met someone that night who was new to Charlotte, she was so full of energy and ideas, and I hired her soon after to be our Charlotte Community Organizer – and by extension the Library gets her too!”

Betsy is referring to Kids Code, a free program that teaches kids the foundations of coding. Betsy was committed to making this program available to families who would most benefit, so she partnered with the Library, and her new hire coordinates that relationship. Kids Code is now offered in Library branches, allowing Tech Talent South to expand its impact.

“These partnered initiatives will be key in changing the current economic mobility narrative in Charlotte for the better. This type of event deepens relationships and makes collaboration possible.”

And good partnerships continue to grow. Tech Talent South recently announced the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Scholarship, a full-tuition scholarship for an adult student to their Code Immersion program. The scholarship, valued at $6,750, is intended to promote inclusion in the tech industry.

This is exactly the type of impact the Friends were hoping to make when they created Final Draught. “The Council’s initiatives are most successful when they match the interests and talents of its members,” explains longtime member Heather McCullough. “Final Draught is an event we’d all like to attend.”

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