Monday, January 5, 2015

That's a wrap!

West Tampa Branch Library, 1914
Over the last three years, the Library History Roadshow has held 30 events throughout Hillsborough County, traveling to all of Tampa-Hillsborough County Library branches to celebrate the community libraries and inviting their community of users to share their library memories and memorabilia.

These donations were digitized for inclusion into a newly developed Library History Digital Collection that was unveiled during the library system's Centennial Celebration at the West Tampa Branch Library on January 1, 2014.

This collection is now accessible through the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library Digital Collections, a digital archive celebrating the history of our community.

Roadshow Tour Schedule, 2011-2014:

April 16, 2011 & June 4, 2011: West Tampa Branch Library

September 24, 2011: Tampa Public Library (formerly the Tampa Free Public Library)

November 19, 2011: Hyde Park Branch Library 

January 14, 2012: Port Tampa City Library

March 25, 2012: Charles J. Fendig Public Library (formerly the Peninsular Branch)

April 13, 2012: Temple Terrace Public Library

April 15, 2012: Ruskin Public Library

May 6, 2012: Seminole Heights Branch Library

June 23, 2012: Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library (formerly the Ybor City Branch Library)

July 28, 2012: Lutz Branch Library

September 26, 2012: Brandon Regional Library

December 1, 2012: Town 'N Country Regional Public Library (formerly the Westgate Regional Library)

January 13, 2013: John F. Germany Public Library (formerly the Central Branch Library)

February 23, 2013: Harlem Branch Library (also known as the East Branch Library)

March 28, 2013: Tampa-Hillsborough County Library Board

April 17, 2013: Bookmobile & Cybermobile

May 10, 2013: Austin Davis Public Library

June 22, 2013: Thonotosassa Branch Library

July 20, 2013: Seffner-Mango Branch Library

September 14, 2013: Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library

October 19, 2013: North Tampa Branch Library

November 16, 2013: Riverview Branch Library

December 7, 2013: Bruton Memorial Library (formerly the Plant City Public Library)

February 22, 2014: C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. Public Library

March 8, 2014: SouthShore Regional Library

April 12, 2014: Bloomingdale Regional Public Library

May 3, 2014: Upper Tampa Bay Regional Public Library

May 17, 2014: Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library

September 20, 2014: 78th Street Community Library

November 8, 2014: New Tampa Regional Public Library

Interested to learn more?  
Check out the Library History Digital Collections and the chronology.

Looking back at the collection of dozens of video memories from patrons, friends of the library, and retired and current staff shows just how important public libraries are to its community.   

We would like to thank the Friends of the Library for their ongoing support and, as well as all those who came out to our roadshows and contributed to our archive. 

 All your donations will be included in the Library History Digital Collection; donations not yet posted are forthcoming.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Last but not least: Gathering memories at the New Tampa Regional Library Roadshow!

After three years and 31 roadshows, we wrapped up our countywide travels!  On November 8, 2014, The Library History Roadshow crew celebrated the final Library History Roadshow at New Tampa Regional Library, located at 10001 Cross Creek Boulevard in Tampa.  

New Tampa benefits from a culturally diverse population, who find common ground at the library and access to its vast resources in common to broaden their world.  On that bustling Saturday morning, so many library patrons popped into to the Jeri Zelinski Community room to take a look at our historical photographic display of images from the library’s beginnings, as well as Burgert Brothers photographs, marveling at how the regional has changed.  

Visitors flipped through the library’s collection of scrapbooks that chronicled the history of the New Tampa Regional Library -- from the construction and opening – to being able to witness a wide variety of programming for children and adults over the years through newspaper clippings and snapshots.

Listen to what some patrons had to say about the New Tampa Regional Library and what it has meant to improving their quality of life. 

Grandmother Linda Morales talks about how the library staff is helpful in showing her new technology and that the library is great for bringing her grandchildren. 

Sai Geddapu also attests has been enjoying New Tampa Regional Library also brings children to pick out books and media.

Anna Elizabeth talks about getting their first library card and her mother, Grace Amparo Callahan shares that she loves the selection of audio books in Spanish.

Robert Johnson is new to the area and talks about getting his first library card at a historic Carnegie library in Philadelphia. Moreover, he expresses why libraries are so important for a community and for personal growth and opening the mind to literary classics and travel.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to record their library memories and enriched our Library History Collection. These video memories will be archived in the library’s Digital Collections. Kudos to the Friend of the New Tampa Regional Library and T.A.B. volunteers for supplying and serving a plethora of refreshments and supporting this event! 

Although this Library History Roadshow event was the last scheduled to travel among Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Libraries, the opportunity to record your library memories continues!  You may send in your library memories and memorabilia for inclusion into our ever growing Library History Collection, accessible via the libraries Digital Collections, or schedule to have your library memories recorded by contacting the Florida History & Genealogy Library (located at the John F. Germany Public Library) at 813-273-3652 or

It is important to document the public library experience for future generations to understand the evolution of Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Libraries within their growing communities.  Years from now, every piece of our community’s history is precious in understanding the past.  Here is your chance to prove you were there. 

Check out the library’s Centennial programs!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Celebrating New Tampa Regional Library: Nov. 8, 2014 -- LAST ROADSHOW!

Image: New Tampa Regional Library
New Tampa Regional Library

New Tampa Regional Library

10001 Cross Creek Blvd.
Tampa, FL  33624

November 8, 2014
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

We invite all New Tampa Regional Library patrons, past and present, to join us at this Library History Roadshow. 
  • Did you ever attend a special program, story time or a computer class at the library? 
  • Have you had a positive experience with library staff?
  • Have you ever found information at the library that improved your quality of life? 
  • Did you ever use bookmobile service before the library was constructed? 
Come and share your library memories and memorabilia and help us as we gather and digitize for the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library History Digital Collection

A brief look back at the beginnings of New Tampa Regional Library...

Back in 1979, the initial planning stages of the development of wilderness conservation land began and it was seen as the biggest thing that was going to happen to Tampa. New Tampa, Tampa's "corridor to the future", was expected to "be home to 65,000 families and the workplace of 80,000 by the year 2000" (Vizvary, 1984).
Jan Platt with Jeri Zelinski, April, 1997

When a librarian Jeri Zelinski moved to New Tampa in 1990 and discovered that the nearest library was more than 12 miles away, she became instrumental in rallying community support for building a New Tampa branch library.  
Accentuating the need for a library in New Tampa, she brought these concerns to the Tampa Palms Women's Club, the New Tampa Community Council, the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System staff and board, as well as the Friends of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library and community leaders. 

As founding president of the Friends of the New Tampa Regional Library, Zelinski became politically savvy and spearheaded petition drives advocating for a library in New Tampa.  With the efforts of Britt Greene, Markborough Florida, the Hunter's Green developer, donated 3.6 acres on which to build the new library.  The donated land was situated between Hunter's Green Elementary and Benito Middle schools, surrounded by growing subdivisions and former cattle ranches earmarked for development. 

Avid friend of libraries, County Commissioner Jan Platt, led the vote for a four-year levy of an additional 0.1-mill property tax to pay for library improvements and the plan was a go!  The groundbreaking was held March 29th, 1996 and by July 1996, construction was heavily underway. 

Library staff getting books ready to put on the shelves.
During the Spring of 1997, the staff worked feverishly to get the library ready for opening.  Two days before the opening, a fancy black-tie gala was held at the Tampa Palms Country Club to celebrate the landmark opening of the the largest branch library in the system. 

After seven years of crusading, lobbying, and patience, The $4.4 million, 25,000 square-foot facility had become a reality. The library was dedicated on May 4th, 1997, with a ribbon cutting ceremony and an open house for the public.  This library facility was a first of its kind in Hillsborough County, setting the standard for the county's libraries thereafter.  

The celebration included local Brownies, Girl Scouts and Cub Scout, Boy Scouts, the Hunter's Green Bell Ringers, County Administrator Daniel Kleman, local State Representatives, members of the County Commission, the Library Board, the Friends of the Library, and the New Tampa Community Council.

The library's unique outdoor public art installation, Alphawalk, created by 
Claire Jeanine Satin, was created to complement the building by the placement of significant and historic language notations in a wide walkway that encircles the building, celebrating the written word.

After a mere five years in service, the New Tampa Regional Library became the third-busiest out of the county's 20 branches; 17 years later, the Tampa Regional Library remains immensely popular with one of the highest usage rates among the county's 27 branches.

For more on the history of New Tampa Regional Library, visit the ever-expanding digital Library History Collection!

Love the New Tampa Regional Library?  

Even if you are new to the area and have only just begun to use the library, we want to hear from you!  For more information about Library History Roadshow events, please call: 813-273-3652.

Vizvary, Mike. "Tampa's corridor to the future." The Tampa Tribune. 1 July 1984. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

78th Street Community Library: Its legacy of community improvement

On September 20th, 2014, the 78th Street Community Library’s doors opened and the Library History Roadshow was set up and ready to digitize library memories in the community room. There, The Friends of the 78th Street Community Library brought refreshments and the Roadshow crew was poised to digitize library memories.  

A steady stream of visitors bringing their photographs of the library’s groundbreaking ceremony and opening ribbon cutting ceremonies, as well as documents pertaining to the library’s public art collection kept the scanning station very busy. Meanwhile outside, a DJ played hip tunes, making the event extra festive.

At 11:30 a.m., Roadshow crew video recorded a public discussion about this history of the library, consisting of local activists who were instrumental in the pursuing the creation of a public library in their community. 

Fred Hearns, Jan Morris, and Hilrie Kemp, Jr. discussed and answered audience questions about the library’s beginnings and what it took to get a permanent library constructed in their community.  

They described their 10 years of soliciting the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners and the Library Board to support the initiative to build a library in their community.  Their persistence paid off with the result of a $1.8 million, 8,000 square foot library that opened in June 1997 to serve Clair-mel, Progress Village, and Palm River Communities.

Dolores Johnson and Esther Graham talked about how the Friends of the 78th Street Community Library formed, as well as some of the challenges that they have encountered in rallying support for this library. 

Mr. Hilrie Kemp discusses his experiences in being part of the library's beginnings, as well as his history with the Progress Village community. 

The Roadshow crew would like to thank all of the people who took the time to stop by and share their memories; they will go down in Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library history! 

We also want to thank the Friends of the 78th Street Community Library for bringing refreshments, especially Dolores Johnson and Esther Graham for supporting their library. A special thanks to Fred Hearns, Jan Morris, and Hilrie Kemp, Jr. for offering to share their experiences of the long, obstacle-ridden road to develop a new library from idea to reality.  

For more on the 78th Street Community Library, see its digital collection

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

THPL Digital Collections highlights public library history

A brief look back at the last few years of Library History Roadshows 

Since 2011, the Library History Roadshow has collected over 90 video memories from library patrons, as well as heaps memorabilia from over 28 branch librariescurrent and historical, for the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Systems (THPL) Library History Digital Collections.  For  us, public librarians, it is humbling to listen and learn about how the public library's services positively affects the quality of life for Hillsborough County residents. 

Throughout the last century, this library system has grown along with the City of Tampa and Hillsborough's County's population while providing quality programming and implementing emerging technologies. The history of every community in Hillsborough County is reflected in the history of their public library branch. See more about the library system's chronology or browse the library's history in the THPL Digital Collections

Check for updates on the library's centennial celebration programs and events

For more information about the Tampa-Hillsborough County Library History Roadshow, please call: 813-273-3652.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

78th Street Community Library History Roadshow: Sept. 20, 2014

78th Street Community Library 
7625 Palm River Rd.
Tampa, FL 33619-4135

September 20, 2014
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The roadshow takes a short hiatus during the summer and but the Roadshow crew returns in September 20th to celebrate of the 78th Street Community Library and gather library memories and memorabilia! 

We ask that past and current patrons contribute to the 78th Street Community Library history collection by bringing in their library photos, memorabilia, and share what they love about their branch library.  Roadshow visitors also may enjoy a Burgert Brother's Historic Photography display curated especially for this event, and may also learn about archiving and digitizing your family's history and personal collections.  

About the library's history

In March of 1995, the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners allocated funds for the purchase of land for a public library for the Clair-Mel, Palm River and Progress Village neighborhoods after years of anticipation

On May 31, 1995, the Palm River community convened for a public site meeting at the ClairMel Elementary School to discuss a proposal for a new public library. One year later, construction began with the groundbreaking ceremony held May 23, 1996.

The 78th Street Community Library, dedicated on May 18, 1997, was the result of community advocacy, as well as support from the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, the Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library Board and Hillsborough County staff.  Construction of this 8,000 square -foot facility was funded by the .10 mill library property tax. See photos from the dedication.

As library use rose 16% between 2007 and 2008, the library was renovated in June 2008, giving pizzazz to the facility -- new paint, carpet, an integrated circulation/reference desk, lounge furniture for reading.  Six years later, 78th Street Community library continues to be a community hub and mecca for lifelong learning. 

Check for updates on the library's centennial celebration programs and events

For more information about the Tampa-Hillsborough County Library History Roadshow, please call: 813-273-3652.  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fun times at the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library Roadshow

The roadshow crew had a great time celebrating the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library during the Library History Roadshow on Saturday, May 17, 2014!  

Several children, accompanied by their parents and caregivers, visited the roadshow and enjoyed cookies while exploring the Burgert Brothers exhibit of historic photographs. Other displays included local history and preservation techniques and promotion of the Our Lives, Our Legacies: The Hillsborough Black Experience  oral history project.

Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library recently underwent a 10,000-square-foot expansion and interior renovation completed in February 2014. The crew took photos of the new and improved library of roadshow attendees while we all talked and laughed about library life and life in general. 

The library's young patrons now have their very own spacious library room with lush, park-like views of the outdoors. 

The main area is more open, with public access computers stations aesthetically grouped in zigzag formation, allowing for more space and privacy. There is also a new west-side door for easy access to the parking lot. 

Check out the slideshow from the event! 

Several attendees agreed to record a video about their experiences with the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library and/or its predecessor, the Northwest Regional Library, which was located just off Northdale Boulevard. The Northwest Regional Library closed in February 2001, just a few days before the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library opened its doors at 2902 W. Bearss Avenue. Here are some of the library memories we gathered for the Library History Archive:

Jill Abbott talks about how she became involved with volunteering with the Friends of the Library Bookstore and what she enjoys about the library. 

Leo Ford and his children William (5) and Charlie (4) share what they like best about the library.

Professor Laurie Muffley remembers that Hudson's Nursery was on the land where the library now sits and visiting it when she was young.  She also talks about how this regional library is the busiest in the Tampa-Hillsborough County Library System and how that speaks to Carollwood's rapid growth. 

As Prof. Muffley discusses the future of libraries, Anthony Pizzaro talks about how the changes are good at the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library. 

The Roadshow crew would like to thank all who took the time to stop by and share their Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library memories so they can go down in history! We also want to thank the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library staff for donating a box full of snapshots and local newspaper articles about their library and for their hard work to make the event a success!

The next Library History Roadshow will be after the end of summer at the 78th Street Community Library on September 20th, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.