By Tamas Mondovics
Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System representatives, along with members of the Friends of the Library and dozens of library patrons, gathered last month at the Bloomingdale Regional Public Library to celebrate the recent completion of the facility’s expansion.
“This is a special day for all of us,” said Joe Stines, Director of Public Libraries, who welcomed the large crowd as he hosted the official ribbon-cutting ceremony of the year-long project, which began in February 2013 adding 10,000 sq. ft. to the original 15,000-sq.-ft. library.
Melodee Suarez, President of the Friends of the Library of Tampa-Hillsborough County, Inc., commented on the hard work on the part of the Bloomingdale chapter.
“These volunteers donate books and funds to run a number of programs, as well as give freely of their time and experience to enhance the function of all activities,” Suarez said.
Following the ribbon-cutting, attendees enjoyed a tour of the new library, located at 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico, built on a seven-acre lot homesteaded by Valrico pioneer John McLean.
The new facility features an enlarged children’s room, a second community room that seats 130 people, an Innovation Studio that includes six computers with creative software, a vending café, a new reading room with collaborative technology and trendy furniture, and an enhanced bookstore operated by the Friends of the Bloomingdale Regional Public Library.
“This library was too small when it opened,” said Eloise Hurst, who during her 27 years working with HCPLC, has seen a lot of changes. “It is finally the library that it should have been when it first opened in 2005.”
The $2.1 million Capital Improvement Project was funded with ad valorem tax dollars provided through the special library taxing district.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman joined the event and spoke highly of the new facility and what she believes it will do for the community.
“Our libraries have experienced an 85 percent increase of online circulation, and we are committed to support our libraries and to stay on the cutting edge of technology,” Murman said. “The future is bright for our libraries. This is just the start of the next 100 years.” For more information, visit www.thpl.org.