Local Libraries Get County Renovation Money

Local Libraries Get County Renovation Money

Conceptualization for the St. Pete Beach Library

  Tuesday night, both Gulfport and St. Pete Beach received money to renovate their respective libraries. The money comes from county tax dollars; the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative (PPLC) receives 1/2 mil from Pinellas ad valorem taxes and returns that money, in varying amounts, to the city libraries.

  “The money we went for tonight has to be used for capital improvements,” Gulfport Library Administrator Dave Mather said. Gulfport will receive reimbursement for up to $180,000 in renovations. The city already has monies budgeted for an architect and may ask council for additional funding, Mather said Tuesday night after the meeting

  “What we hope to do is renovate the inside of the library,” Mather said. Improvements will include a “massive” renovation of the children’s area, ensuring the building has sufficient power and space for computers and devices, and a cordoned-off meeting room. The renovations will also include a dedicated teen area and a renovated reading area towards the window fronting 28th Avenue South.

  “The area where the big window is? We hope to make it a more comfortable space for people who are either studying or reading or using their devices,” Mather added.

  “This is the first time we were approved for these capital funds since 1992,” Mather said, adding that he wasn’t sure the city had asked for money since then.

  At the same meeting, PPLC awarded the city of St. Pete Beach $200,000 to expand and renovate the existing library. 

  “We have some preliminary plans,” City Manager Mike Bonfield says. “Basically, it includes a new entrance, meeting rooms, restroom –  that’s what’s going to be added, and then the existing interior will be completely redone.”

  The Seminole library also received $65,000. The East Lake library asked for $10,000 for a fire alarm system and did not receive approval.

  Some of the remaining fund balance went to countywide software to help enhance collections ($50,000) and developing a county-wide smartphone app ($38,000). 

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