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Beach Library to celebrate expansion Saturday

October 3, 2012
By Dr. Leroy Hommerding , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

This Week's Activities

Preschool Story Hour on Wed, Oct 3 at 10:30 a.m.

Ice Cream Social, Sat, Oct 6 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Upcoming Activities

Basic Computer Q & A, Thur, Oct. 11 at 10:30am. Pre-register.

Shellcrafting Critters, Sat, Oct. 13 at 10:30am. Pre-register.

Ice Cream Social

Join us for a celebration of the opening of the library addition! Take a guided tour of the new facility to learn about the eco-friendly features of the new building. Enjoy ice cream and music with friends and neighbors in our community's new gathering place, the third floor library commons between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.


Shellcrafting is a fun activity. On Saturday, Oct. 13, Donna Rizzo and Donald Holman will offer both a demo and hands-on instructions for making animals from shells. Pre-register and $2 materials fee. Cats, owls and a variety of other animals will be candidates in the making. We have also scheduled a Saturday time to enable children, families and those working to participate.

Check out the display on the second floor that highlights many of the creations of Donna. You can also sign up for the class at the Circ desk on this floor.


The Library Board set in place the budget (available at, under link 'Library District Board') for the upcoming fiscal year during hearings the past two weeks. In prep for the hearings, the Board spent a lot of time in looking at line items and reviewing the entire budget. I really learn to treasure the Board members as many will share a point or idea, or raise a question during the year. While it may seem the Budget is done in a short time, in many ways, it occupies a good part of the year.

As Director, I am thinking of the budget, if not daily, certainly weekly. One cannot balance the books, keep each part of our services moving forward, and save funds wherever possible, without constant attention to the details.

We have been working on the construction project since 2001, first as just exploratory ideas, acquiring land and thinking about expanding parking, and then trying to incorporate the many ideas we received from the community and users as we conceptualized possibilities in 2005 and 2006. I still recall the Focus Groups in those years as there was a great deal of energy and excitement that contributed to conceptual plans becoming realty that led to the hiring of the architect.

Throughout all of the planning years 2001 to 2011 we kept the budget in mind. What makes me very proud is that this was achieved while having a millage that is over one-third less than what residents would have paid had we been part of the County Library System. This intends to be no commentary on the County Library, only giving credit to the Beach Library Board for their diligent and careful efforts throughout these years.

Catastrophe Fund

There was discussion at the budget hearing about this Fund. In the 2007 audit this comment was included in its financial highlights: "During the summers when Hurricane Charlie and Wilma left unwelcome damage on our facility, we discovered that our insurance policy (which is carried at the maximum as permitted under federal government guidelines) had such a high deductible that no damage was covered under insurance. This prompted us to set up a Catastrophe Fund to which we add some funds each year with the idea that it is readily available for unexpected disaster events, and in the long term will one day provide less need for insurance."

The Board designated funds since then into this Fund under the line item in the budget "insurance." That seemed logical though a few against the expansion continue to insist that insurance was over budgeted. It wasn't. The amount "insurance" included both what was paid for policies and what was put into the Catastrophe Fund. To provide greater clarity, in last year's budget and in the new budget approved there is a separate line item for Catastrophe Fund and one for insurance. When you continue to hear reference to this over budgeting and it's been addressed for two years, know that the comment is stuck in yesteryear. If one wants to find fault, this seems a way of creating it. I have heard from some in the community that this doesn't benefit the library or the community.

Finding Materials

We are gradually seeing snowbirds return--welcome back. The number of new cards being issued is a sign to us of growing times ahead. During this renovation phase of construction, if you're looking for a fiction, mystery, non-fiction title or DVD, please stop at the Annex. If you're seeking a classic title, magazine or newspaper or large print, go to the Expansion. Once construction is completed, around Christmas time, we'll be back under one roof again.

Walk on the Sidewalk

In collaboration with Lee County Health Dept and the "Tobacco Free Lee" initiative, anyone needing to use tobacco products is to keep walking on the sidewalk. Please do not discard cigarette or cigar butts or other residue of tobacco on the campus. The Beach Library is a no-smoking, no-tobacco use facility and property. Smokers, thank you for respecting those who do not wish to be affected by second-hand smoke.

Library Hours

When you call in during closed hours, a message gives the open hours. Open hours during the renovation are Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m,; Friday 9 to 5, and Saturday 9 to 2. Hours will be extended further once the construction is 100 percent completed.



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