Sometimes, you don’t need a large stand-alone library that’s filled wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling with books. Sometimes, you can take an old schoolhouse and convert it into a charming space that’s ideal for reading your favorite novel — indoors or outside on the porch beneath a ceiling fan.
The Osprey Library opened Nov. 10, at Historic Spanish Point.
“This is especially exciting for us because we’ve talked about the evolution of public libraries and they’re changing dramatically,” said Sarabeth Kalajian, general manager of the Sarasota County library system.
The new library will be a “connections” library, a model successfully implemented in other communities across the country. This particular type of library has a smaller physical footprint than other libraries.
“In the most positive way, we think of it as a grand experiment,” Kalajian said. “We’ve been looking at the model for three to four years and waiting for the opportunity to try it out.”
The 630-square-foot library is the ninth library in the system and offers all of the services featured at each of the county’s other libraries, including free Wi-Fi access, online availability of the entire library catalog, plus pick-up and drop-off service items from other libraries within the system.
Although the total project cost was not available at press time, the Osprey Library staff kept the cost of the library to a minimum by using existing resources from the library system and donations from the Friends of the Library, library supporters and the community as a whole.
“The things that we spent money on were improvements to make the space convenient and conducive to a library,” Kalajian said. “There were some noise issues, because it’s close to the road and has a high ceiling, so we invested in an acoustical ceiling and acoustical panels for the wall and window treatments that buffer the sound and carpeting. We noticed an immediate improvement in noise reduction.”
The Friends of Osprey Library provided the furniture for the porch adjacent to the library, which provides a comfortable place for customers to relax and read or use laptop computers.
“I think people were surprised when they walked in,” Kalajian said. “We put in fixtures and furnishings that reflect the style and flavor of Spanish Point. In a relatively modest space, this is such a charming library.”
Selby Public Library celebrates remodeling project
After almost six months, the $1.2 million remodeling of Selby Public Library is complete. The Selby Public Library staff and the Friends of the Selby Public Library are co-hosting a celebration event from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Dec. 2, during which the new state-of-the-art Teen Center will be unveiled.
The Teen Center, funded in part by a $50,000 grant from the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, was designed to offer a space where teens can explore their academic and creative potential.
The library, which opened in August 1998, is the busiest in the library system. It attracted more than 700,000 visitors in 2010.
For information, call 861-5000 or visit www.sclibs.net.