Baugh Library, Rex Jensen Library, McLibrary Face are among the names that didn't make the cut.
The construction going forward at Premier Park in Lakewood Ranch has shown that the project, indeed, is coming to fruition, and now it has a name as well.
Call it the "Lakewood Ranch Library Manatee County."
The Manatee County Commission voted unanimously April 26 to adopt the name during a regular meeting. District 5 Commissioner Vanessa Baugh, who was fully involved with the project, made the motion for the name, and the other commissioners voted in favor of it.
When the site opens — the project is in summer 2023 — visitors will find a sign that reads “Lakewood Ranch Library,” with a subscript of "Manatee County."
Manatee County had collected name suggestions from the public through a survey featuring three options, none of which were fully adopted — the Lakewood Ranch Branch Library received 54.38% of the vote, the Manatee County Library at Lakewood Ranch received 33.12%, and the Manatee County Library East County Branch received 12.5% — with an option for voters to input a name of their choice.
“It’s just another step forward to providing services to the community," said Library Services Manager Tammy Parrot. "And, of course, we want to make sure people understand that it's their library.”
Parrot said she had no favorite in the name sweepstakes.
“We're just happy it's named,” she said.
Lee Washington, the director of community and veteran services for Manatee County, who organized the poll, said he agreed with Parrot.
Instrumental in the selection process were the actions of the organization Friends of the East Manatee Library at Lakewood Ranch, which performs fundraising for the branch and had recommended two of the naming options — Lakewood Ranch Branch Library or Manatee County Library at Lakewood Ranch.
“Our board felt very strongly that the library should be named by the location,” said Sue Ann Miller, president of the organization. "We've actually held that position for all four years that we've existed. So we're very pleased that Commissioner Baugh brought that to the Board of Commissioners. We do meet with her periodically, and she knew what our desire was, and obviously, she supported that as well, so we're thrilled.”
“I’m excited that we’ve finally gotten to the point of naming the library," Baugh said. "I’m excited to see what the No. 1 name was because I think it’s only appropriate. We’ve got the Central Library, we’ve got Braden River Library, we have Rocky Bluff Library, we have Palmetto Library.”
“I fully support the Friends of East Manatee Library," Commissioner George Kruse said. "Sue Ann Miller is a huge asset to the community, and if she calls in and recommends a name, that’s good enough for me. Also, the name received 56% of the survey vote — although the survey was Lakewood Ranch Branch Library, and we removed the branch part of it.”
Miller said she was excited simply to have a name because it will now help the library to begin working with Parrot to begin considering branding that includes colors and logos. She said that although friends groups do not always work directly with libraries, in this case, because of the efforts of Parrot to include them in these aspects of the project, they are able to do so.
At-large Commissioner Carol Whitmore said she liked that “the people decided.”
“I wanted to make sure that since it is located in Lakewood Ranch — it has been called that by us, for years — that that was included in the name," she added.
In response to the name selection, the friends group will be changing its name to Friends of the Lakewood Ranch Library.
The commission noted the removal of the word branch from the name of the library, despite this being the most popular option on the survey.
“There’s no way I’m voting for anything that says Ranch Branch on it,” said Kruse as the vote approached.
The commission was also presented with the full set of names the public had entered into the suggestion box, which are currently viewable on agendaonline.mymanatee.org. The suggestions most prominently included the words “library," "Ranch," "Lakewood," "Manatee," County" and "branch.” However, commissioners noted the presence of terms that were more unusual or seemingly included in jest, with the list including “Ostenbridge,” “McLibrary Face,” “exploratorium” and others.
"Before we vote, I just want to throw out that we should listen to all the suggestions," joked Commissioner James Satcher. "We can do the KVB Library — The Kruse, Van Ostenbridge, Baugh Library."
Parrot noted the library will be part of the library system of Manatee County.
“Our system is a centralized system, and technically none of them are standalone libraries,” said Parrot. “Our theme is that we are one library with many locations. And we will provide those services no matter what the name is.”
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