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! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Next Stop: Bloomingdale Regional Public Library, April 12, 2014

Join us in celebrating...

Bloomingdale Regional Public Library
in Valrico, Florida
April 12, 2014

10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The Bloomingdale Regional Public Library serves communities in east Hillsborough County including Bloomingdale, Valrico, Lithia and FishHawk Ranch. In addition to a wealth of resources, this library boasts a wide variety of programming. Highlights have included panel discussions with members of the Tuskegee Airmen, the Tampa Rockets (Negro League Baseball players), as well as local authors like Tim Dorsey. Other popular programs include the Kuumba dancers, Mah Jongg classes, Teen poetry slam and more!

Do you have memorabilia or a favorite memory of a program offered by the Bloomingdale Regional Public Library to share? If so, come and have it digitized for the library's digital archive
Library's interior during construction

About the library...

In 2001, word of a new library in the South Brandon region began to be published in local newspapers with potential sites for the library under debate. By summer of 2003, the site of the new 'South Brandon Regional Library' was chosen. The Tampa Tribune article, "Plans for new public library under way" from May 7, 2003, explains how the choice was made:

"The county commission was debating between the Bloomingdale site and a site just south of Lithia Springs Elementary School. In the end, the board was swayed by an offer of free land. Candi Martin, a member of the McLean family, which farmed the Bloomingdale site for more than 100 years, said the family agreed not only to sell 5.8 acres for $265,000, well below the $735,000 appraisal, but opted to throw in an additional acre. Martin said the reason for the gesture is because her family would like to leave a lasting contribution in the community that has been their home for generations. Another factor in choosing the Bloomingdale site was an offer from FishHawk Ranch developers to donate property for a library in that development, slated to have 7,000 homes when it's built out. Mike Kelly, director of the county's real estate department, said his staff looked at the area that FishHawk Ranch was setting aside for a library and found it would be suitable."

By early December 2003, the South Brandon chapter of the Friends of the Library was forming in time for the December 8th groundbreaking of the library's construction.  The 15,000 square foot building took a little over a year to construct and had its soft opening on February 7th and official dedication on February 10th, 2005. 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

Librarian Julie Beamgard was the first branch manager to take the helm of the new library, renamed the Bloomingdale Regional Public LibraryIt was the first library branch in the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System to have a genealogical collection outside of the collection housed at the John F. Germany Public Library in downtown Tampa, making it the perfect meeting place for the Greater Brandon Genealogical Society. Eloise Hurst, the current branch manager, recently said that the branch library handles 60,000 items per month and hosts hundreds of programs each year. 

Bloomingdale's expansion, May 6, 2013
In February 2013, an expansion of the library began and added approximately 10,000 square-feet, allowing for a new, larger children's room, more space for teen activities and technology, an additional community room, a bigger Friends of the Library bookstore, and additional seating for quiet study. The expansion was completed in December 2013.  

Come celebrate the Bloomingdale Regional Public Library's history and future by joining us on Saturday, April 12th!