Library to reopen with ceremony

Director of Manatee County Neighborhood Services Cheri Coryea last week sent out some 100 invitations for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, to celebrate the reopening of the Island Branch Library — and county commissioners have all responded they’ll be attending.

        After the ceremony at the Holmes Beach library, 5701 Marina Drive, the public will be invited inside for a 4-7 p.m. open house. It will be available for regular library use, according to library supervisor Inez Tamanaha.

        Regular library hours begin at 9 a.m., Oct. 18.

        Tamanaha said, “We're really happy with it. It's been a nice change — so fresh and bright. I hope the people will really like it. We can't wait to show it off.”

        The branch has been closed since May, and a remodeling project began in June.

        Manatee County operates the branch through its neighborhood services department and, according to Coryea, the county’s property management department ran the $230,000 remodeling project.

        At the start, the county anticipated a smaller project and a September completion date.

        With a $50,000 grant from the Friends of the Library and a $19,000 grant from a U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act grant, the county was able to add landscaping, parking lot stripes and exterior painting.

        “The lighting is what you’re going to notice the most,” said Coryea. “It’s a lot brighter.”

        The friends’ contribution was allocated to the circulation desk and the conference room, with a new corkboard and picture rail, she added.

        Other improvements include a new utility room, new tile and fixtures in the bathrooms and updates in the kitchen.

        “This was a total re-wiring of the whole place,” Coryea added.

        Additional data lines, ports and wireless connections will now be able to connect with patron’s smartphones, tablets and laptops.

        “It’s all back,” said Coryea about the books and other library materials.

        Randy Bosley, a neighborhood services courier, moved more than 1,000 boxes of books over a three-week period in August-September, she said.

        Also returning will be the 14 public computers.

        The building was opened as a library Dec. 15, 1982. The summer renovations constitute the library’s first major remodel, according to library officials.