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!