Library Alive! Programs Run the Spectrum


Fort Myers Beach is home to one of the finest public libraries in the nation. In addition to its reading and research treasures, residents and visitors enjoy its fantastic monthly programming.

In reviewing the selections, Dr. Leroy Hommerding, library director, said, “I do not even need to think about my #1 recommendation – the Piano Music Recital every Wednesday with Julie Wenger from 1:30 to 2 p.m. Julie is a pianist since age 5 who specializes in classical music. She has her Master’s in Music Composition from Syracuse University, loves to play, often tells stories behind the selections and has a wonderful sense of humor!” Julie performs on the piano the Friends of the Library donated three months ago, entertaining on Wednesdays, January 11, 18 and 25.

Dr. Hommerding encourages everyone to attend “A Land Remembered” on Wednesday, January 11, at 10:30 a.m. “Stan Malecki comes in character as Tobias MacIvey, the central character in the book ‘A Land Remembered’ by author Patrick D. Smith. You will totally enjoy him; he is totally into the role! Ask a question and he answers as MacIvey. It is wonderful and enjoyable, truly bringing history to life.”

The MacIvey Family over three generations rounded up wild cattle and drove them to Punta Rassa for shipment to Cuba. “It is so important to know our history here in Florida,” advises Dr. Leroy, “especially for visitors or transplants from other areas of the nation. Stan actually followed the trail Smith wrote about in the book.”

Lights, Camera, Action

For a completely unique experience, he enthusiastically points out the two “Pick of the Flicks” programs on January 18 & 25 at 2:30 p.m. “I wanting to do a series on independent films for a long time,” he explains, “but the trick was finding the right people to lead it. Mission Accomplished with Roger and Leslie Frick, who select the films and will lead the following discussion. They are very personable and love the experience that is independent film. They attend many festivals and have a deep background screening pictures for groups.”

The film, “Human Capital” on January 18 tells the tale of an Italian murder mystery that unfolds via four different perspectives; pre-registration is necessary by January 17. Wednesday the 25th is “In A World,” a crackling satire of voice-over artists in Los Angeles, with registration by January 24. Rick and Leslie lead a brief discussion following each film.

“Most people simply do not have an appreciation for independent films,” Dr. Leroy reasons. “Fundamentally they do not understand the techniques and motivations. Once you overcome that, you look forward to them. Leslie and Roger chose the selections based on the work’s accolades, so you will not only enjoy the films while watching them, but they likely will stay with you for some time afterward.”

Best of The Rest

“Memory Screenings” are on Thursday, January 26, with Angel Duncan from the Neuropsychiatric Research Center of Southwest Florida, with advance registration-required for a 30-minute session for $3 between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. “Angel conducts a half-hour program with you, analyzing your memory,” adds Dr. Leroy. “She takes you through on-going exercises throughout the session, then provides follow-up suggestions based on the results and her observations. Angel is exceptional and provides a wealth of information.”

The independent film, “In a World” will be shown and discussed at the Beach Library on January 25th.

A related event is the Memory Improvement Workshop on Monday, January 30, with pre-registration required, at 1:30 p.m. “Our minds and memories are just so important, especially to those who reach a certain age,” stresses Dr. Leroy. “Cletus our reference librarian leads the session, with a lot of tips and suggestions to improve your memory.”

An emotional highlight occurs on Tuesday, January 10, with “The Meaning of Life” at 10:30 a.m., where Rosemary Jaffin overviews what enabled Viktor Frankl, founder of logotherapy, to survive the Holocaust camps. “Rosemary is from Germany but vacations on Fort Myers Beach every January,” explains Dr. Hommerding. “She is a counselor and social worker, and is outstanding.”

Certified life coach Patrice Robson leads “Happiness is A Choice” on Friday, January 20, at 1:30 p.m. Learn to create positive change and growth in your life. Dr. Leroy says “this is just one program in an entire series that occurs throughout the year, but even if you attend just one, you will get a lot out of it. We had 24 people at the last forum.”

Mary Kay Mueller offers “8 to Great” on Thursday, January 26, at 10:30 a.m. The award-winning author shares her patented 8-step process for greater happiness and health. “Igniting Your Imagination” is Monday, November 30, at 10:30 a.m. Brooke Dierkhising, author and illustrator of “Many Ways to See the Sun,” explores your wild imagination as well as the scientific connection between imagination and learning.

For the entire list of the Fort Myers Beach Public Library’s 48 January programs visit or pick up a schedule at the library. For more details call 239-765-8162. The library is at 2755 Estero Boulevard; hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with Wednesday to 7 p.m. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; closed Sundays and holidays including Martin Luther King, Jr., Day on Monday, January 16.


Gary Mooney