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Longboat Key Monday, Jul. 15, 2019 4 months ago

Longboat Key Library offers an oasis of books

Check out the boutique library for new knowledge, even in the offseason.
by: Nat Kaemmerer Staff Writer

When was the last time you visited your local library?

If it’s been a while since you found yourself in the small building at 555 Bay Isles Road, consider making a stop for some knowledge or friendship — both of which can be found either in the pages of your new favorite book or with your new friends at the desk. 

Sadler James, a resident who describes himself as an “aggressive volunteer” with the library, said it serves two functions: to provide contemporary reading for residents and to be a social gathering place. Two librarians are always posted at the front desk to answer questions and make connections with those who come in.

Barbara Moscow, who comes to the library every week, checks out a book from Linda Lutz.

“The wealth of knowledge behind this desk is staggering,” James said.

At a time when many residents are not on Longboat, the library and its librarians are holding down the fort until folks return. It’s open three hours a day (9 a.m. to noon) during this slow summer season, but the Longboat Key Library wants you to know that they’re still here. 

“It hurts me most when people come in and say, ‘I had no idea we had a library,’” said volunteer librarian Connie Hilwig. 

The library tries to buy all the New York Times bestsellers and keeps a list in the building.

A good amount of people wander into the library on a summer day, however. It’s either the regulars who come week after week or the folks looking for a specific piece of information in a local book at the library.

Even if people know what they’re looking for, it would be strange if they didn’t stop and chat at the front desk before diving into the shelves. Volunteer librarian Linda Lutz said the librarians on duty mainly talk to each other or visitors, and sometimes read when it’s not busy. 

“I come here every week,” said resident Barbara Moscow. “The people are so helpful. Recently someone gave me a book and said I’d like it, and they were right!”

Some folks vacation from elsewhere and make Longboat their home for the week or month, using the Longboat Key Library as their home-away-from-home library. 

“It’s a tradition to come over here and get a book for the week,” said Todd Jordan, who is vacationing on Longboat Key and does every year. 

The group of retired career librarians who lend their services to LBK’s library do the buying reviewing of books, and they try to always have most of the New York Times bestsellers on the shelves. "Where the Crawdads Sing" has been a fantastically popular read, so the library bent the rules and bought two copies for members. For now, Hilwig and Lutz recommend David Rosenfelt’s murder mysteries (you won’t miss these with the dog that always graces the cover) or Little Fires Everywhere. 

Connie Hilwig recommends David Rosenfelt murder mysteries.

Come for the air conditioning and assortment of books the library offers, but stay for the community and chatter provided by its librarians. To check out books, you can obtain a $25 annual membership. You could also browse the books for sale in the open corner of the library, where paperbacks go for $1 and hardbacks for $2.50. 

“Most of us (volunteers) really care,” said Hilwig. “People come in and say, ‘Oh you ladies are so nice.” 

“I really do love working here,” Lutz chimed in.

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