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Beach Library preps for grand opening

January 30, 2013
By BOB PETCHER ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Sometime in February, the Fort Myers Beach Library will celebrate its newly completed construction expansion project with a grand opening ceremony. While there are still remodeling and reorganizing within both expansion and renovation parts of the buildings to blend together, resource rooms are starting to take shape and the caf is about ready to open.

The grand opening will be a two-day affair so that more people could participate in planned events, according to Beach Library Director Dr. Leroy Hommerding. A grand opening committee has yet to put details together, but one can expect at least a commemoration ceremony, patriotic songs, a selection of food and entertainment.

"Certainly, we will raise the flag on our flag pole for the first time," he said. "We want to show some gratitude to the community for what has been able to happen. We also would like to have reminiscences of what we can look forward to."

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Both ends of the Beach Library parking lot entrance are now open with the completion of the expansion project construction.

The architect for the expansion building recently did a walk-through inspection.

"He's been going through every single area to see if there are little things that need to be addressed or to check if there are any major things that need to be done and somehow overlooked," said Hommerding. "It takes time. Every vent and every area has to be balanced. You have to go through a physical process to do that."

The Beach Library Board of Directors held their first meeting of the year on Jan. 22 and elected new officers for 2013. Sally Seabury is now president, Karen Swanbeck remains vice president, Miffie Greer will be the treasurer and Mark LaFave is now secretary.

First order of business for the new officers was to decide how the board's meeting minutes would be recorded. In the past, the secretary would write down the appropriate information and keep record of it that way. Last year, the board invested in video equipment and captured both audio and video segments of the monthly meetings.

The issue of video taping meetings became a topic of discussion last Tuesday. While only one director thought video should remain, the majority believed audio transmission would be the method to move forward into the future. LaFave has been tasked to handle the set-up of that media method.

"I think it's very important that we maintain transparency," said Greer. "That's been an issue from the word 'go.' I think the audio will do that, until we decide to use the video equipment for a broader scope of some kind."

Now that the full building (the expanded section and the renovated, original building) is open, Beach Library resources can be found on three floors. On the first floor, check out the Audio Avenue with DVDs, Audio Books, Music CDs, Playaways and Downloadable Media. Kid's Place will feature a Toddler's Area, a section for Kindergarteners through six graders and a multi-purpose children's area. On the second floor, you can find magazines and newspapers in the "living room," large print books (left of the elevator), Internet and computer workstations as well as nonfiction and fiction books (right of the elevator). On the third floor, one can enjoy Wi-Fi Internet access, the Friend's of the Library Bookstore, a well-used community room and a caf, which should be open by week's end. Ted and Carol Jensen will run that business. An e-book collection will open in late February.

"It's truly, truly inspiring to walk through the building now," said LaFave.

Since 2001-02 when the planning years began for the expansion project, close to $600,000 in total donations have been collected. In between the Nov. 27 meeting and Jan. 22, Hommerding reported the gift amount was $8,202. Total cost of construction is figured to be close to the $7.8 million figure that was under contract.

Beach Library officials are proud and grateful of the many donations that have been collected towards the new library's development.

Past president Katie Corning also stated a matching donation opportunity by an anonymous person would occur through the month of February. Anyone contributing during that month will have a doubling effect.

"Any donations towards the library development fund will be matched dollar for dollar by a generous donor," she said.

Library friends to hold meeting

Come see the new Fort Myers Beach Library. Learn more about the tide clock. On Saturday, Jan. 26, the Friends of the Fort Myers Beach Library will hold their 2013 membership meeting in the third-floor community room at 2:30 p.m.

Dr. Leroy Hommerding, the Beach Library director, will share his experiences during the construction and renovation and will lead a tour of the new library. The public is welcome to this event.



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