Next month, the Library Task Force, which has been in existence since June 2014, will present their findings to the Commission and leave it to the City and its citizens to determine the answer to these questions.The Library Task Force will “sunset” out of existence in what Commissioner Tom McMacken called “the end of the beginning. ”
A Little History
Relocating the library is not a new concept. The current location is the fourth in the library’s history. The original library was founded in 1885 on the porch of the Lamson House at 503 Interlachen. In 1886, it moved to an enclosed building owned by the Winter Park Co. In 1902, it moved again to a new one-room building, which was expanded in the 1930s when the city was persuaded to provide free electricity. At that time, the library went from being more or less a private club to being a true public library. (Indoor plumbing would follow.)
That library outgrew its home and, in 1976, the city acquired the current library site on New England Avenue. After 20 years, in 1995, a third floor was added and floors one and two were remodeled.
Another 20 years has elapsed. Once again, growth and demand for services have exerted pressure on the current library. Last year, the City Commission decided it was time to explore alternatives. They assembled a nine-member Library Task Force, which came together in June 2014 in the service of our city.
Their task: to make recommendations regarding the need, location, costs and funding strategies for a new or remodeled library facility.
Task Force Goes to Work
The nine are Sam Stark, Gary Barker, Daniel Butts, Bruce Douglas, Jeffry Jontz, Nancy Miles, Joel Roberts, Jan Walker and Chip Weston. Each City Commissioner chose one, and the remaining four were chosen by the Board of Library Trustees. Bruce Douglas resigned from the Task Force in April 2015, leaving eight members.