By Tamas Mondovics
In order to be ready to celebrate a century-long history, Hillsborough County Public Library (HCPL) officials have been asking residents and library patrons to check their closets, attics and garages for photographs or memorabilia in connection with their neighborhood library.
The effort has been in motion for the past couple of years and is part of what organizers passionately and appropriately call “The Centennial Project,” ahead of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Libraries 100th anniversary to be celebrated in 2014.
This November, it was time to feature the 8,000 sq. ft. Riverview Branch Library located at 10509 Riverview Dr. in Riverview. The facility enjoyed a parking lot expansion in 2008 which more than doubled the number of spaces available.
According to library officials, service to the Riverview area started as a bookmobile stop at a local grocery store, but thanks to a group of local citizens who later formed the Riverview Library Association, the need for a permanent library building to better serve the communities of Riverview, South Brandon, Progress Village and Gibsonton, became a reality.
The rest is history as today the Riverview Branch Library building, which opened on November 18, 1979, houses more than 70,000 items and provides key services to its customers including internet access, online resources and programs and activities for all ages.
“This small library’s rich history spanning more than 30 years of service is now celebrated and will be featured as part of the Centennial Project,” said Chief Librarian, Margaret Rials.
Library staff and volunteers work on-site at each Library History Roadshow to digitally scan photos and other printed items that residents bring and are able to immediately return original artifacts to its owners.
Attendees have the opportunity to record video and audio memories and share their historical knowledge of and experiences at Hillsborough County libraries. One of these video and audio volunteers was Friend of the Library, Judy White, who walked down memory lane and recalled the necessity for the library in Riverview and the joys of its long awaited dedication more than three decades ago.
“I used to drive the Bookmobile in Riverview before the library existed and I have been a great supporter of the library since its inception,” White said.
For more information about the Library History Roadshow, please visit http://hcplc.org/hcplc/events/libraryroadshow