The Fort Myers Beach Public Library Board of Directors held their monthly meeting in the library’s 3rd Floor Conference Room on Tuesday evening, June 25. In attendance were President Sallie Seabury, Treasurer George Ballantyne, and Secretary Jan Fleming, as well as Erik LaFave, Ed Scott, and Rick Sebastian. The Library Board currently has an open seat, as former member Miffie Greer resigned due to a move out of the library district. “It may take a while before Governor Ron DeSantis gets around to us,” said Seabury. “Lee County Commissioner Larry Kiker passed away two months ago and his seat remains open, so these things take time!”
Under “Treasurer’s Report,” Ballantyne stated that “the Library, on our asset side, is favorable to $37,000 and our net income up by roughly $44,000 two-thirds through our Fiscal Year.”
Fleming reported on inspirational quotes for a possible memorial plaque for the late Library Director, Dr. Leroy Hommerding. “I found one in the ‘Friends of the Library’ Cookbook on Dr. Hommerding’s recipe page: ‘I always imagine Paradise as a kind of library.” That says so much about him, as he continues to be part of our Paradise! A second I showed him several years ago that he liked: ‘When I received my first library card is when my life began!’ Dr. Hommerding thought that belonged somewhere in the Library but never had time to post it.” Scott added a third possibility: “Russ Carter provided a great quote at Dr. Hommerding’s memorial service: ‘He fought to build the Library and died defending it!’ I can’t think of anything more perfect!” Seabury reminded that the memorial plaque remains a work in progress.
During a discussion on “Heart Of The Island,” Fleming stated that “the Library is in the ‘Heart Of The Island’ (HOTI) neighborhood. This is in the Town of Fort Myers Beach Comprehensive Plan, from roughly Pearl Street to Donora Boulevard, to become a type of mid-island tourism destination, to complement Times Square to the north and Santini Marina Plaza to the south. We have many great attractions here in addition to the Library, like Matanzas Pass Preserve and Bay Oaks Recreational Center and the Community Pool. Several HOTI business leaders have been meeting now for roughly a year to discuss the concept, and Dr. Hommerding asked me to attend to keep him up to speed, so that is what I am doing today. They really like the Library’s ‘Christmas in July’ concept that we will host on Thursday, July 25, with several businesses planning to piggyback on that. This seems like a fine concept, to work together to bring more people to this part of the island.” The Board asked Fleming to keep attending HOTI meetings.
Director & Attorney Reports
Under “Director’s Report,” Cletus Poser stated that vandals recently damaged an outside turtle statue, with a repair estimate of $4,000 to $6,000 so the Library will not replace it. Repairs have been made to the Library main entrance electronic doors and the outside horizontal security gate; three new Powerheart AED defibrillators are in place, with staff training soon; a broken parking lot security camera now works, with a new security camera in the Children’s Playroom; “and Staff reports seeing butterflies in the new Butterfly Memorial Garden!” Seabury added that “the Library’s annual audit is complete with no issues. The Auditor will attend our July Board meeting to provide a complete briefing.”
During the Attorney’s Report, Dalton explained that the Board had asked her to attend each Public Meeting following Dr. Hommerding’s passing. “Sallie and I recently discussed this,” said Dalton. “You seem to have weathered the crisis well, so we feel it is no longer necessary for me to attend every meeting, unless you need me for a specific purpose.” Seabury then said, “On behalf of the Board, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!” Scott went a step further, saying, “I thank you from all my heart – not just the bottom of it!”
The meeting adjourned at 7:23 p.m. The next Library Board meeting is Tuesday, July 23, at 6:30 p.m., when they will set the 2019-20 Fiscal Year Millage.
By Gary Mooney