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Longboat Key Thursday, Apr. 25, 2019 1 year ago

Letters to the editor

Longboat readers sound off on key issues.
by: Guest Writer
Once again: Art center won’t involve tax dollars!

It is very disappointing to read how you and the Longboat Observer seem to be taking a very negative view about the proposed Arts, Culture and Education Center.

First of all, let me point out this subject is not new. We started looking at a proposed community center in Bayfront Park in 2002. I chaired the committee to study this and have been involved for the past 17 years.

We have held many public sessions asking the public what it  wanted many times over those years. When that project was voted on, because it was to be paid for with taxpayer funds, it was voted down because the town’s past projects had cost overruns and the voters didn’t want this to happen again.

When the Urban Land Institute suggested the town should create a town center and make a cultural center the focus of it, I and others thought it was a great idea. 

When Ringling College of Art and Design suggested it would manage the facility, I thought that was a perfect match.

Ringling has been the subject of some negative criticism during recent meetings, but if it weren’t for Ringling coming in and saving the Longboat Key Center for the Arts, it would have closed 10 years earlier.

The art center would still be there if the residents of the Village hadn’t fought every improvement Ringling tried to make.

I just can’t understand this negative position being taken by you and others about this proposed facility. Maybe you should try to look at it in another light.

The town’s taxpayers will be benefiting from a multimillion-dollar facility which would have been built without one dollar of taxpayer money.

Even the land that the town purchased was bought with non- taxpayer funds. It will be run by Ringling at its expense — without any taxpayer funds. What can be bad about that?

I hope you will print my response and show the few negative people who responded to your biased survey the reality about this proposed facility.

If we don’t raise the funds from private sources, the facility won’t be built.

Jim Brown

Longboat Key


Underutilized library? We think not!

I am perplexed at the Longboat Observer’s recent use of the term “underutilized” library.

I would suggest the Longboat Key Library is an integral part of the community since its founding in January 1957.

For instance, in January, 698 books, 33 audio CDs and 15 DVDs were checked out. During February, 836 books, 26 audio CDs and 20 DVDs were checked out.

During the two months, the library was open 47 days by volunteers trained under the supervision of our librarians. They maintain the desk and day-to-day operations, generating more than 658 volunteer hours.

Of course, we realize these are in-season months, and library traffic diminishes off-season, as do all activities.

This does not count the many hours of volunteers purchasing books, reviewing books, updating card catalogs and preparing books for the shelves.

We have numerous retired librarians working together, some with advanced degrees supervising the day-to-day activities of the library. In addition, our members represent a broad cross section of managerial and technical skills used in an advisory capacity.

The Longboat Key Library is a member-supported, private non-profit organization staffed and operated entirely by volunteers. It is not a part of the excellent Sarasota County library system, which has no extension on the island.

The Longboat Key Library is funded by membership fees and donations of cash and books. Membership is open to all for a yearly fee.

The library opened Jan. 15, 1957, and moved to the present location near Town Hall in January 1972. According to membership wishes, the bulk of the library is in contemporary recreational reading: mysteries, fiction, nonfiction, biographies, classics and books of local interest. It is not a research library.

The numbers speak for themselves. “Underutilized” — we think not!

Sadler L. James

Library Volunteer


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