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.