Kate Spade: My Daughter Should Be “Surrounded by Books”

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While Kate Spade's daughter will never be short of stylish handbags, the designer mom said at the New York Public Library she wants to raise a bookish girl as well.

“We go to the library a lot,” said the designer at the NYPL's day-long "Family Benefit" on Sunday about she and her 6-year-old, Bea. “This is an amazing place to hold an event for children because it encourages them to be around books. Instead of, you know, pottery places or whatever, which are great too, but it’s nice for them to be surrounded by books.”

Little Bea was one of hundreds of children (and their parents) who showed up for arts and crafts and quintessential New York snacks like pizza and hot dogs at the iconic library. The event, co-chaired by actors Sarah Jessica Parker and Amanda Peet as well as Spade, will benefit the Library’s 87 neighborhood branches.

Spade told Niteside that she’d been supporting the public library since Bea was just a toddler at two years old.

“All of the events are just adorable,” she said. “And also, what could be wrong with reading? It’s nothing but good, good, good.”

Spade said that getting involved with libraries has become a family tradition.

“When I was little, my mom used to work at the library at my school, and then when Bea was in preschool, I worked in the library at her school. So it’s kind of a family thing.”

The designer, who has been less involved in her namesake brand since it was sold to Liz Claiborne in 2007, said she wasn’t currently working on anything in her professional life.

“I’m just looking forward to spring break,” she said. “Even though we just got off Christmas break!”

State Assemblyman Jonathan Bing, who serves as chairman of the Assembly Committee on Libraries and Education Technology, also joined the NYC-themed book-fest. He said that it was especially important to support libraries during difficult economic times.

“More people use libraries during economic downturns than at other points in the economic spectrum, so right now we need to do whatever we can to keep them open as much as possible,” he said.

 “They serve seniors who are looking for a place with good heat where they don’t have to pay for books, they help working adults find better jobs, and they help kids become better educated. They’re the most efficient social service organization that we have.

“But like every other non-profit in this state, charitable funding is down. So events like these are extremely important, and we also need to make sure governmental funding is there.”

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