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Beach Library is an important place for children

July 25, 2012
By Dr. Leroy Hommerding , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Weekly Activities

Preschool Story Hour at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 25

Summer Reading Program Library Time on Friday, July 27, 10 to 11 a.m.

Thanks

It's a joy having residents assist in our preparations for moving into the expansion. Those who have already helped, thank you very much. Please come again. Those who haven't left their contact info at 765-8162 or with staff, please do so if you can during the next 10 days. Much still needs to be done and the more that is prepared at a slightly leisurely pace, the easier the move into the expansion will be.

Library Use

It has been a delight seeing the different ways the library is used. As a public library, we are aware that as a community we serve our residents and also, in an active way, the many visitors to our Beach. One understands well why public libraries are talking about increased usage, as visitors to the Beach are a regular part of the scene at our library. I think this is why our volunteers add so much -- not only do they bring their talent and good-will and regular doses of love to the library but they also see the broader picture. This week I received a note from a couple in Louisville, Ky. saying thanks for our being here or as they put it "Thank heavens for the Ft. Myers Beach Public Library!"

6,279 people used the Library in person during June. This is up 11 percent from same month last year. Summer is a good month in serving children: 178 children participated in the various programs during the month. I cannot tell you how excited we are when children are enthralled as via the "Trouper" program early in the month and talking about books they want to check out or have read.

If you raise questions needing some assistance, thank you for your patience when it takes a few minutes longer to get the resources needed. Questions needing assistance was up 11 percent compared to last year.

As energy and time were geared to construction activities, we scheduled less in the Conference Room. While it may take some time to have a full schedule in the new expanded Community Room in the expansion, we're confident that this space will be appreciated and actively used.

Children

It's a special joy seeing the ways children are finding an important place in the library. This runs quite a gambit from four teens (or maybe preteens as age is a bit hard to determine at times) who were avid readers for a few days a week during the past two weeks, to children who are playing with the developmental games in the children's area. I'm excited to know that we will have more space and opportunities for our children once the expansion and renovation is completed.

The Toddler's area in the completed library will enable babies and those children under five to have a stimulating environment with developmental furniture and interactive activities. I believe many see this 313 square feet as an area most needed and worthwhile.

Our children in Kid's Place will devote resources for those children K to grade 6. The area will offer quality titles to support love of reading and quality materials to encourage growth of children to be caring citizens. Having computer workstations and print materials, we hope also to develop an interactive screen with the help of Kiwanis and grant opportunities. This space is 1,116 square feet and it seems to be a wise investment in the future of our community. Children visiting grandparents, families, or vacationing here are often accustomed to using the library at home so it's natural to continue that positive experience, much to the delight of parents, while on vacation.

To foster safety, there will be a separate Kid's restroom. It's in the immediate area so parents can be confident that children don't need to move into another area for bathroom needs.

A multi-purpose area adjoining Kid's Place will be a room that the children's librarian can use with children for various activities and which will enable us to develop a further stimulating environment for kids and their families. These 334 square feet will be highlighted with a tree created by artists. The tree will be a gumbo limbo, the tree of Fort Myers Beach. The tree going into the ceiling will be surrounded by clouds, and lights will adorn the atmosphere as they come through the clouds.

Each of the above areas will be in the renovated space of the library on the first floor. On the second floor, an area comprising 674 square feet, will concentrate on the Teen Collection and enable teens to have a space.

Construction

You'll notice that boxes are appearing, shelves are being moved, and for those who love routine, "it seems things are changing." Yes, a lot of activity is underway as we prepare for the move into the expansion and the bookstore. It will only take a few months to do hurricane renovations to the current library and then we'll be one completed facility. We're moving into the expansion much as it will be once everything is done. This means we have part of our collection available in the expansion and part in the bookstore of the Friends that we will use as a display and checkout area for parts of the collection until Thanksgiving.

Some furniture and technology equipment will arrive upon completion of construction. This enables us to only move once and not risk wear and tear or damage to equipment by extra moving.

Perspective

I have heard so many positive and affirming comments leading to the current construction and, with the end in sight, the possibilities become exciting. It makes me realize how much we can still do and the dreams and possibilities that will become a reality once more space and possibilities are present. It's nearly impossible to really comprehend the age of our planet Earth -- 4.6 billion years. To give a sense of perspective, if we compressed Earth's entire history into a single calendar year, the last 2,000 years of human history would take place in the final 14 seconds of the year. When I look ahead at what lies ahead because of the Library Board's initiative and listening to the many comments in the past decade and beyond, I'm aware that we have much yet to achieve and let happen, for in a sense we are only 14 seconds into the project.

Library Hours

Call for information on 765-8163. Except for holidays, which would be mentioned on the recorder, we are open Monday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9 to 5; and Saturday 9-1. We look forward to seeing you.

 
 

 

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