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Sarasota Thursday, Apr. 1, 2010 10 years ago

New Osprey library under consideration

by: Robin Roy City Editor

For years, Osprey has pushed for its own county library. It came close in 2006, when Bay Street Village developer Henry Rodriguez donated a quarter-acre of land to the county for a library within the development.

But county budget cuts and sales setbacks for Bay Street Village stopped those discussions.

Now the county is considering a new type of library, one much smaller in size, for Osprey.

“The largest gap not served is between the Gulf Gate and Venice libraries,” said Sarasota County Library System Director of Libraries Sarabeth Kalajian. “This gives us an opportunity to fill the gap.”

Kalajian said she’s been eyeing new library models in different parts of the country that utilize small spaces — 1,000 square feet or less — in places such as shopping malls, child-care centers and post offices.

Stand-alone libraries can be too costly for some budgets.

With the breakdown in talks with Bay Street Village, the county is now looking at using a classroom at Historic Spanish Point.

“It’s a logical location,” said Kalajian. “Our hours could be easily compatible. We’re excited.”

The county has heard from many people in the Osprey area who said even a drop-off and pickup location would be appreciated.

“It’s a foot in the door, which is better than no foot in the door,” said Rick Noyes, co-founder of the Friends of the Osprey Public Library group. “The county is making an effort to have a presence here.”

Because a Historic Spanish Point location would have limited space, the county would study the demographics of the area and tailor the book collection and library services to those people.

It would also expand its reserve service, in which customers can request a book online or over the phone that may not be at their local library, and a courier will shuttle it to their location.

Kalajian has a meeting set for April 14, at Historic Spanish Point to further explore the possibility.

“I’m looking at it positively,” said Noyes. “It’s a start.”

Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].

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