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Special celebration planned for library’s 50th anniversary

Friends of the Library’s 30th also be noted

November 14, 2012
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle

A fun filled afternoon will take place at the Pine Island Library to celebrate its golden anniversary, as well as the Friends of the Library's 30th anniversary.

After a plot of land was donated by Lucille Phillips Warren at the center in memory of her father, Tom, a library board was soon formed in 1962. More than 2,000 books, which were donated, were housed in a small rented building and Katherine Knight was appointed as the volunteer librarian.

Ground was broken in December 1963 for the Pine Island Library, which is now the Museum of the Island, and the building was finished and dedicated in 1966. The library was opened for a total of 17 hours, six days a week and was staffed by volunteers.

Article Photos

Photo Provided

The Pine Island Library and the Friends of the Pine Island Library were honored with a proclamation from the Lee County Commissioners Nov. 6 which declares Nov. 14, 2012, as Friends of the Pine Island Library Day. (Back row): County Commissioners Ray Judah, John Manning, Frank Mann and Tammy Hall. (Front Row) Pine Island Library Branch Manager Randy Briggs, Pine Island Librarian Rita Appel, Friends of Pine Island President Vicki Morrison, Myrn Holbrook, Diane Higgins, Jackie Judd.

Only three years later in 1969, plans were already under way to enlarge the library. Ten years later the Lee County Commissioners allocated funds for the library to maintain the building, as well as pay insurance, water and electricity. Unfortunately that money included very little for books or expansion.

The library had outgrown its space by 1982, which was the same year the Friends of the Pine Island Library was formed - Jan. 9, 1982. Fifty dollars was anonymously donated to start the treasury and 26 charter members were listed in the first minutes. That same meeting officers were elected - President Elaine Jordan, Vice President Bobbi Shanks, Recording Secretary Johan Waggle and Treasurer Jerry McFarlane - and the bylaws were approved.

The Friends received 509a2 status in 1982, which allowed them to apply and receive a $3,000 grant from the Gannett Foundation to purchase new furniture and equipment for the new library. In 1990, they received their 501c3 status.

Fact Box

If You Go

What: Pine Island Library 50th Anniversary, Friends of Pine Island Library 30th Anniversary

When: Nov. 14 from noon-6 p.m.

Where: Pine Island Library, 10700 Russell Road

Now the Friends of the Library has 120 members and has raised more than $135,000 since its inception.

Another ground-breaking was held May 25, 1984, for the new library, but was soon put on hold because of zoning code conflicts. The work was resumed in July, but the 4,000-square-foot library was not finished until Dec. 19, 1986.

Jackie Judd, who became a member of the Friends in 1987, said they have helped by basically being the library's advocacy group.

"We try to tell the community what is happening in the library and ways they can help," she said. "Friends have helped by always being very supportive of lots of programs."

As an advocacy group, Judd said they talk to the county commissioners to keep the millage rate up to fund the library and if the state cuts the library budget, they contact as many legislatures as they can.

Over the years, Judd said the thing that has changed the most is the amount of support the Friends of the Library has received from the community.

"We want to keep the library in the public eye," Judd said. "We constantly encourage people to go to the library."

In 1990, Judd said she and her husband began attending the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce business card exchange to keep the library in the public eye, which after all these years they continue to do.

She also became a member of the Lee County Advisory Board from 1990-1995 to represent the Pine Island Library. She said she took some time off, but recently joined again.

The public library holds a special meaning to her because she was a former teacher for 35 years.

"The library serves such a great thing for students, parents, it's always been very important to me," Judd said. "It's always been important."

A similar celebration, she said, was held five years ago, which brought a lot of people back from the earlier years that worked for the library.

"I hope they come again this time," she said of the library directors. "It was so fun to see all the people come back."

The schedules of activities on Nov. 14 include literary events, children's program, music, food and speeches from noon until 6 p.m.

Local authors Mary Kaye Stevens, Lisa Black and Phil Buchanan will be at the library from 12-2 p.m. to discuss their latest works, and Dennis Havlin and Denege Patterson will be at the library from 2-4 p.m. to also talk about their latest work

A presentation from dignitaries will take place at 3 p.m., which will be followed by WINK News Meteorologist Katie Walls reading to the children from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Authors Amy Bennett Williams and Charles Sobczak will also be at the library from 4-6 p.m. to talk about their books.

Music will be provided by the Pine Island Elementary School choir, as well as other musical artists on Nov. 14. Students of Pine Island Elementary School will also have their artwork on display of their favorite book.

For more information, contact Friends of the Library President Vicki Morrison at



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