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.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Join us at the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library on May 17, 2014!

Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library

2902 W. Bearss Ave.
Tampa, FL  33618

May 17th, 2014
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The Library History Roadshow is coming to the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library

We are excited to see what the residents of Carrollwood, Northdale, and northwest Hillsborough County “bring to the table” on Saturday, May 17th! Staff will scan customer items during the event and return them the same day. Curious about the kinds of items we are looking for? Great finds include things like: your child’s first Northwest Regional or Jimmie B. Keel library card; a special award won for a library contest; photographs of the library and its programs; newspaper articles about the Northwest or Jimmie B. Keel libraries and more! Don't have any physical materials? That's OK! We welcome you to stop by and record your memories and personal stories about the library. All items and recordings will be considered for the the library system’s new Digital Collections, which include both a Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library collection  as well as a collection for its predecessor, the Northwest Regional Library.

About the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library

In early 1981, the continuing major growth in northwest Hillsborough County began to stir up interest in both residents and the Library Board for a library in the area. Two residents, Henrietta Silverman and Evelyn Surles collected names on a petition asking for a branch library to be built near North Dale Mabry Highway and Ehrlich Road. They wanted a library that would serve those living in Carrollwood Village, Carrollwood Meadows, Country Place, Northdale, North Lakes, Cherry Creek, and Woodbriar. In October of 1981, the Hillsborough County Library Advisory Board voted to recommend that a new library be built in Northdale on a 1-1/4 acre site at Northdale and Mapledale boulevards donated by Criterion Corporation. In August 1982, the Hillsborough County Commission accepted the Criterion Corporation's offer of land for the new library branch and per the agreement, construction was set to begin by June 1984.

Library Director John Adams
On May 17, 1984, the groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new, $2 million, 20,000 square foot Northwest Branch Library to be built on Premier Drive just off of Northdale Boulevard. Slated to open in July 1985, the library’s inaugural launch was delayed by more than a year due to high construction bids, issues with the building permit and architect, and waiting on the arrival of several ordered parts.
At last, on December 7, 1986, the Northwest Branch Library was formally dedicated and opened to the public by Library Director, John Adams. 

Unfortunately, a difficult beginning was not the end of the new branch’s troubles. As the library became more popular and well-used, it was quite evident that the 45-space parking lot was too small for its audience. In 1994, plans were made to buy an adjacent 39,024 square feet of property at $97,500 for overflow parking to accommodate the 800 daily visitors to the library. In January 1995, repairs were required to deal with significant damage caused by water leaks that had been an ongoing issue since the library's opening. Officials estimated that the two-story building had sustained $200,000 in damages to walls and carpets in the manager’s office, auditorium, and circulation work room. Necessary repairs included a new roof, gutters, windows, paint, and some drywall patching. After the overhaul, which closed the library for about a month, the library reopened in June of 1995 and was rededicated as Northwest Regional Library on September 16, 1995. 

Northwest Regional Library
Despite all the work that had been done to the library's structure, troubles again surfaced in early 1998, when the County faced a hefty $800,000 in restoration to eliminate a severe mold issue. The restoration included a mandatory 3-6 month closure to ensure the safety of patrons and staff. At about the same time, library officials also were realizing that the branch library would need an expansion to keep up with the area’s quickly growing demands and several Library Advisory Board members suggested it might be easier to close Northwest and build an entirely new library. 

In April 1998, Jacksonville-based Austin Davis Family/Winn Dixie Charities offered $3 million to replace the ailing 11-year-old Northwest Regional Library. This was at the encouragement of Kay O'Rourke, daughter of Winn-Dixie co-founder Austin Davis and chairwoman of the Hillsborough County Library Advisory Board. By July 1999, several possible sites had been narrowed down to a 6.8-acre parcel on Bearss Avenue a few miles east of North Dale Mabry Highway and tangible plans for a new 25,000 square foot library began.

On February 9, 2001, the old Northwest Regional Library closed and just five days later on February 14 its replacement, the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library, opened its doors at 2902 W. Bearss Avenue in Carrollwood. The new library was named in honor of Jimmie B. Keel, a long-time county employee who served as the Assistant County Administrator in charge of Human Services and was the first African American social worker hired by the county in the late 1950s. The library was formally dedicated on June 7, 2001. 

In 2012, due to the popularity of and increased traffic at the library, a 2.02 acre parcel owned by the County just south of Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library's parking lot was paved and designed as a new 60-65 space parking lot extension. Additionally, in January of 2013 construction of a 10,000 square foot expansion began to allow for a larger children’s room, an additional community room, an expanded Friends of the Library bookstore, and a new entrance on the west side of the building. The expansion was completed February 2014 and to celebrate, the staff at the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library held an open house with fun activities for all ages on April 27th, 2014. 

Do you have library memories or artifacts you would like to share? We look forward to learning about your history with the libraries and hope you will join us on Saturday, May 17th for the next stop of the Library History Roadshow!

Upper Tampa Bay Regional Library a Ray of Sunshine on a Rainy Day

May 3rd was quite dreary weather-wise, but the Library History Roadshow at the Upper Tampa Bay Regional Library went off without a hitch! The roadshow crew enjoyed talking with several visitors who braved the gray skies and rain to come learn more about the library. Visitors perused displays presenting preservation techniques; local history; the library's grant project: StoryCorps; Our Lives, Our Legacies; as well as Burgert Brothers historic photographs of the surrounding area. Delicious cookies and coffee cake refreshments were generously supplied by the Friends of the Upper Tampa Bay Regional Library.

It was the Roadshow crew's lucky day, as we were on hand to celebrate a young patron's very first library card, which she joyfully displayed for an on-the-spot roadshow photograph. We also spoke with a young teen with a large stack of freshly-checked out books and her parents about her preference for reading print books over digital copies.

The Upper Tampa Bay Regional Library is just nine years old. While there is not a large backlog of history accumulated yet, it is never too late to record your library memories with the roadshow crew or to showcase news articles you may have saved about the library's programs and development. 

If you are interested in recording a memory or sharing an artifact with us, please don't hesitate to call the library at 813-273-3652. We will be more than happy to make arrangements for you to help document the history of our libraries and community.