Fort Myers Beach Library officials did not receive approval to open the library as of yet, so the local library will remain closed this week. The Annex (former Friends Bookstore in Sea Grape Plaza) is open for checking out materials. Residents and users may speak with a Library Clerk at the Annex at 463-4840.
The past week has been one of so much activity that it seemed the end would never appear or that the many tasks would not be completed in time to reopen the library. Thanks to the many residents who volunteered time to assist in the move, those concerns were resolved. Those involved added a lot to the momentum and keeping the activities moving as well as doing so in the tradition of volunteerism so central to the Beach Library.
Opening of Expansion
As with any construction, we will have opening challenges. What complicates the opening even more is that we are still in construction mode. Though the expansion will open next week, the original library facility is closed. Over the next few months, hurricane and code updates will be underway in that section.
Moving into the expansion, while not having full use of all space, means we will make adjustments in the short term. There are misc items that still must be completed. Also, some areas of the expansion are being used in temporary ways until we have the complete square footage available from the entire project. The Quiet Rooms in the expansion will be used by staff for the next few months.
Review the Collections highlight below. If you are coming to the Expansion, enter from School Street and park on the pavers. The tower entry is open and the elevator welcomes your presence. If you intend to check out items in the Annex, then drive to Seagrape Plaza. If returning materials after hours, also use the Annex location.
The Large Print, Reference, Magazines and Newspapers and Music CDs will be on the first floor of the expansion. Internet workstations are available here too.
Mystery, Fiction and Non-Fiction collections will be available in the Annex (the former Friends of the Library bookstore). The outdoor material return will also be outside the Annex. By using the Annex, we are able to avoid having to layout the expansion in one manner and then having to redo everything in just 90 days. It makes much more sense to get settled later with minor adjustments.
The separation of collections is a brief challenge and one we hope you will find conducive to continued use of library resources during construction.
The Library Commons on the top floor of the expansion is finished. Here you'll find The Friends of the Library bookstore, which is ready and stocked and also the Community Room. We will gradually be 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.
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' is encouraged to get details and submit a proposal by October 1.
Wi-Fi access will be available on this floor too. We are still waiting for the chairs and tables to arrive. There was no storage room to have them delivered early so we tried to schedule the delivery as close as we anticipated needing them. At the time of the order, we estimated we would be moving into the expansion around mid-September and now that we are able to move into the expansion earlier, the delivery will mean opening without these chairs and tables.
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.
The contributions of public libraries to our democracy, our formal education, our lifelong learning, and our information-driven society may be too numerous to list.
Because libraries are such established institutions, people often take for granted that they will always exist. The Friends of the Library stay alert to this reality and if you are not a member of The Friends, please consider joining. While much work is done and many in the community support and are aware of the benefits of a library, there remain those who look only from afar at what is happening and often do not know the inner workings that would often encourage being involved or using resources.
The first week of opening in the expansion will be one of adjustment and for most, one of excitement. Once we've got the little things worked out, we will schedule a time to celebrate this important event. I will include details next week.