Monday, January 13, 2014

Bruton Memorial Library -- A community hub and gold mine for local history

Plant City Public Library, 1960
Present and former employees, members of the Plant City Women's Club, Friends of the Library and loyal patrons alike turned out for the Bruton Memorial Library History Roadshow on December 7, 2013. Many positive experiences were shared and participants enjoyed taking part in discovering and preserving their public library's history.

In addition to the event itself, Roadshow staff were thrilled to explore Bruton Memorial Library's extensive collection of historical documents, vintage photographs and fun artifacts, such as Mrs. Bruton's typewriter, the original facade's library sign letters, and collection book accession records dating back to the library's beginnings.

Roadshow visitors viewed the Library's collection of history on display and were able to flip through many scrapbooks filled with newspaper clippings from the 1930's through the 1980s.

The roadshow crew recorded nearly a dozen video memories, many from past employees and Women's Club volunteers (and some telling stories from the 1940s-50s).  Attendees also took advantage of being captured in a photo alongside a life-size cutout representation of Andrew Carnegie, our Centennial mascot.

The initiative for a public library in Plant City was spearheaded by the Plant City Women's Club in 1927.  During the roadshow, Plant City Women's Club Presidents (past and present) Judy Glorioso and Alise Sollenberger shared their knowledge of the club's participation in the library's history, as well as their continued involvement in supporting library services in their community.

Library Director, Anne Haywood, holds many years of service at Bruton Memorial Library and remembers Quintilla and Judge Brutons' passion for their public library.

Felicia Broome has also worked for the library in Plant City for many years and provided insight into her experiences.

Carolyn Henderson, a long-time staff member, explains why the Bruton Memorial Library is so important to the fabric of its community.

Geradine Demming's mother and grandmother were members of the Plant City Women's Club and she recalls helping them in the library as a young girl.

Mary Missing Shalhub-Davis was a part-time employee of the Plant City Public Library in the 1960s; she shares her experience of what the library was like back then.

Library patron Stephen Tracy took the time to share his memories of the Bruton Memorial Library over the years.

Shelley Schneider tells the story of how important the quality of the local public library was as a deciding factor for her family's relocation to Plant City -- a testimony revealing the many ways in which the public library affects residents' quality of life.

Jason Mattair shares why the library is such special part of his daily routine over the last 20 years.

Siblings, Donald and Theresa Carnley are long-time and ongoing patrons at the Bruton Memorial Library. Here, they share share what keeps them coming back.

Many thanks to the Bruton Memorial Library for their hospitality and to all their supporters for coming out to make this event such a success. The Roadshow team will be busy for some time with all that was gathered for preservation during the roadshow. Stay tuned to the library's newly unveiled Digital Collections, which include a special Bruton Memorial Library History Collection, to see items as they are added by our archivers!