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Beach Library reopens/ access from School Street

August 28, 2012
By Dr. Leroy Hommerding , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer


The Annex (former Friends Bookstore) was open all of last week for checking out materials. The expansion was closed to give the consultants time to address concerns of the Fire Dept. Inspector. Those of us who have been involved in having a home built or a business renovated would not be surprised as individual inspector interpretation can give a twist to carefully laid plans. The building is so well and safely built that the matter was resolved in short order as consultants provided clarification.

Moving into the expansion requires adjustment, as square footage cannot be laid out right now exactly as planned for long term. It is a challenge to be offering full library services in a smaller space. One of the reasons for the construction is that we have outgrown the space years ago and during the renovation of the current facility we will be working in a smaller space for a few months.

You'll still be able to enjoy the expansion though recognize that it is bit tighter than we desire.

The Annex will continue to be open until the construction project is 100 percent completed. We will also, now that the Certificate of Occupancy is issued, open the Expansion as of Monday, Aug. 27.

Thanks again

Renewed thanks to the many volunteers who assisted in packing materials and helped in the move of furniture and books and materials into the expansion, the Annex and storage. The current facility is 100 percent vacated and the crews are already busy with preparation for the needed renovations.

You may have noticed that the ramp at the temporary entrance has been removed. The steps will remain for a time while the contractors are using them. It is exciting to see this as it means the pace of construction moves us forward a week at a time. The projection is that everything will be completed this year.


It's been a pleasure hearing regular comments about how much it is missed when the library is not open. While we would prefer to be closed no days, it reinforces once again how essential a place the public library plays in our community. Those who think about stopping at the library on a daily or multi times during the week found this a challenging time. Try to visit the Annex and at least locate a title to enjoy for reading or viewing or listening. And now that the Expansion is open, we will continue service as usual and even better.


We will begin scheduling events in the Community Room. For those who may want to consider using this room, please request a Reservation and Liability Form as well as the Guidelines for use of the area from a staff member.

The Cafe in the Commons will open when the entire project is completed, around early December. Meanwhile, anyone who might be interested in running the Cafe' are encouraged to get details and submit a proposal by Oct. 1.

Wi-Fi access will be available on this floor too. The chairs and tables for this area just arrived and are being set up as I write. There was no storage room to have them delivered early so we tried to schedule the delivery as close to the time we anticipated needing them.


When we are closed, you will receive a message when we will reopen.

Phone numbers for the library remain as before: 765-8162 (circulation, general), 765-8163 (Reference, Internet). While we are in the Annex you can reach staff there and also inquire about your account, if needed, at 463-4840.


Those who believe a public library is simply a repository of print books haven't been to a public library recently. When we evaluated community and library needs for the new century in our past 10 years of planning, we looked at the fact that today's public library is evolving to meet the demands of digital technologies and of patrons. Learning areas, encourager domains of innovation and maker spaces are increasing emphasis you'll see.

These new extensions are very much in line with library service as the public library has always been a community center as much as a place to go to check out books to read.

Few would argue the fact that one mission of the library is to provide the community with information. Some tend to think that information can only be found in books or journals. While both books and journals will continue to be very important, it is also true that other media, both digital and those individual works created by the artist, will play an important part in offering access to the full spectrum of knowledge and information. I like to add appreciation too as hopefully the more one knows and is informed, the greater our appreciation for life and others. Increasingly, libraries are places where art works are displayed or where displays are created on watercolor techniques and examples of watercolor artwork to give one example.

Hopefully you'll enjoy the placement and stewardship of artwork that you may notice in different areas of the Beach Library. Our Seashell Collection, so natural for a Beach Library and community, represents more than 50 years of shell treasures and finds and collecting. Not only are we serious that the architecture provides some inspiration and artistic stimulation, but we aim to have art a natural part of the life and activity of the library.


After the expansion is open a week or so, we will have a celebration to enjoy this important moment in our community's experience. With the slight delay in opening I'll make it a point to share details in this column once the opening week nicks have been handled. As always we look forward to seeing you. Both the Annex and Expansion are open Monday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., on Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. When construction is 100 percent finished, evening and Saturday hours will be extended further.



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