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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Next Stop: Upper Tampa Bay Regional Public Library: May 3, 2014

Welcome to Upper Tampa Bay Regional Library! 

Upper Tampa Bay 
Regional Public Library
11211 Countryway Blvd.
Tampa, FL  33626

May 3, 2014
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Calling all fans of the Upper Tampa Bay Regional Public Library! 
Have you attended a memorable program or found a resource that improved your quality of life at the Upper Tampa Bay Regional Public Library?  Is there a program or class that helped to make life easier or expanded your mind?  Perhaps you have encountered a particular staff member who just makes your day? If you have photos or a story about the library that you would like to share, please join us Saturday, May 3rd when the Library History Roadshow crew will be on site! 

Bring your photos and memorabilia, or just stop by to record a video memory!  The Roadshow crew will digitize and return your items while you wait.  Items will be added to the ever-expanding Upper Tampa Bay Regional Public Library's digital collection

During the event, a historic Burgert Brothers photograph exhibit will be on display. The Roadshow brings these photos from our special collections to help generate discussion and spark memories of Hillsborough County's past. 

A brief look back into the library's history...

The push for a library in the Upper Tampa Bay region began in 2000.  The Westchase community had accessibility to the West Gate Regional Library in Town N' Country, a branch library noted for the highest circulation in the county's library system, but with limited parking. Those facts, plus the growing population in the Upper Tampa  Bay region drove Maureen Gauzza to spearhead the Friends of the Upper Tampa Bay Regional Library's initiative to have a regional library serving the communities of Westchase, Countryway, Charleston Corners, Fawn Ridge, Twin Branch Acres and Citrus Park.  

In May 2001, the Library Board identified three possible sites for a new 10,000 sq. ft. library in that region. The Friends of the Upper Tampa Bay Library unanimously voted for a site at Countryway Blvd. near Linebaugh Ave., and despite concerns about the cost and visibility of the location, County Commissioners approved their choice in December.  The 7.6 acre piece of land was de-annexed from the Westchase Community Development Taxing District to save the county $62,000 per year in taxing district fees. 

Following this decision, the Upper Tampa Bay Library Foundation, Inc. (UTBLF), led by Brett Scharringhausen, formed in an effort to raise money to purchase more land and vie for construction of a larger library facility better suited for the area's growing population. On March 19th, 2003, County Commissioners heard the UTBLF and Friends' arguments for the expansion and voted to expand the library to 15,000 sq. ft. Architecture sketches of the proposed library were shared with the Friends in August 2003. The plans mirrored the regional library in Bloomingdale, but the Upper Tampa Bay Regional Public Library would have a locally unique style all its own. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on December 12, 2003, with a deadline for completion set for December 2004.  

On January 8, 2005, the Upper Tampa Bay Regional Public Library facility was dedicated at 11211 Countryway Blvd. in Tampa, offering a full range of resources and services both in person and online for residents in the Westchase area. Construction of the $4.5 million building was funded by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners and a grant from the Florida Department of State, Division of Library Services. A beautiful gazebo welcomes visitors and generous donations of art from the Westfield Mall at Citrus Park and the Westchase Artists Society adorn the grounds of this bustling community cornerstone.

In December 2012, Hillsborough County announced that the start of the library expansion, creating a new, larger children's room, additional space for technology and teen activities, a large community room for programs and meetings, more quiet study spaces, and a bigger Friends of the Library bookstore. As a Hillsborough County Capital Improvement Project, the library's expansion project was funded with ad valorem tax dollars provided by the special library taxing district. Ten years later, this library will be celebrating its expansion to 26,000 square-feet with a ribbon cutting in May 2014.  See more photos on the expansion

The Friends of the Upper Tampa Bay Regional Library continue to provide ample and appreciated support for the many programs that are hosted at the library each month and welcome you to this event celebrating the history and value of this community resource. 

Join us May 3rd and take part -- share your library memories and memorabilia and be a part of library history! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

National Library Week Kick-off at Bloomingdale Regional Public Library

The Library History Roadshow helped to kick-off National Library Week at the Bloomingdale Regional Public Library on April 12! With the help of the Friends of the Bloomingdale Regional Library and the Teen Advisory Board (TAB), the library was full of activity with a packed schedule of programs for all ages. 

The roadshow took place in the new, spacious community room, where the Friends of the Library catered with refreshments and a delicious cake adorned with the library's centennial logo.  People enjoyed the unique Burgert Brothers' photographic display of historic images of the region and displays brought awareness of the importance of local history and heritage preservation. Information provided allowed attendees to leave with a better understanding of how to begin preserving their family treasures and digitize their collections. 

We were so thrilled to see the newly renovated and expanded library--it looked stunning!  
Enjoy a brief slide show from our visit:

During the roadshow, the Friends of the Bloomingdale Regional Library donated their collection of newspaper clippings, newsletters, and photographs, which kept our scanning station very busy for the duration of the event. Video library memories were also recorded in one of the library’s quiet study rooms. All of these digitized memories and memorabilia are being added to the Bloomingdale Regional Library's history collection

Frequent library patrons Thomas and Tenetia Faircloth dropped by to check out the roadshow exhibits and have some cake. They took a moment to share why they like coming to the Bloomingdale Regional Public Library:

Since the library's opening, the Friends of the Bloomingdale Regional Library have been instrumental in augmenting so many of the library's community programs.  Chapter president Carol Jones shared with us some of the many ways that the Friends of the Bloomingdale Regional Library help support library programs and get the community involved.

Patricia Boody has been a member of the Friends of the Bloomingdale Regional Library since its beginning. She recalls the group forming and attending meetings before the library was built.  Her daughter, Adriana Boyd, has been coming to the Bloomingdale Regional Public Library with her mother since it opened, and has memories of participating in many unforgettable youth programs.

We were so glad that Candice Martin came by the roadshow and recorded her library memory. The library holds very personal importance to her because the library was built on land that her family, the McLeans, settled in the 1880s. Candice is grateful for the Friends of the Library's contributions to making the library an integral part of her community, and she participates in the library's Life Story Writing Workshop they sponsor.  As a result, she is working on putting her family's genealogy and history in Valrico on paper to share. We look forward to learning more about her pioneer ancestors and including information she provides in our local history and genealogy collection when it is completed!

Valerie Perry works closely with Bloomingdale Writers Connection and has been teaching the Life Story Writing Workshop since 2007.  She shared with us about how the award-winning program began, and how it has evolved into a more comprehensive program that helps people write about their lives, as well as preserving family memories. 

You can learn more about the Bloomingdale Writers Connection book,  I Have a Story to Tell ...: An Anthology LISTEN Projectthat Valerie references here. Check it out from the library!

Monique Groulx is also an active Friend of the Bloomingdale Regional Library.  She tells us about moving from Montreal to Riverview when she was a teenager in 1959. She explains why the bookmobile was so important to her until the Riverview Branch Library opened in 1978.

It is fascinating to learn the diverse ways in which the library's services, resources and programs inspire individual patrons, as well as the lasting, positive impact on the Bloomingdale community as a whole. 

The roadshow team thanks all who took the time to have their library memories recorded. Special thanks to the Friends of the Bloomingdale Regional Library, who were so generous in sharing their memorabilia, photos, newsletters and time, as well as their ongoing contributions to their community library. We also want to thank the Bloomingdale Regional Public Library staff for their hard work to make the event a success! 

See you at the next Library History Roadshow at the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library on May 17!