Book it: there’s an opening date for a new library in Lake County.
The Lake County Library System and the city of Fruitland Park will host a grand opening ceremony for the Fruitland Park Library at 11am Friday, July 19, at 604 W. Berckman St. The free event is open to the public and will include a ribbon cutting, presentations, refreshments, and live music, a news release states. The first 500 patrons will receive an exclusive library card featuring a picture of the new library.
The 12,000-square-foot, one-story facility will provide a significant upgrade over the city’s former 7,000-square-foot space. The new library will offer a larger selection of books and media, more room to host programs and events, and a restaurant, the Gardenia Café, which will serve breakfast and lunch. The city will convert the old library into a community center.
“This is a momentous occasion. For the first time in 10 years, a new library building will open in Lake County,” Jo-Ann Glendinning, director of the Fruitland Park Library, says in the release. “It’s been a long journey but well worth the wait. Our community has grown. It was time we grew with it.”
Visitors will feel at home with the library’s coastal theme, featuring a large wraparound porch and outdoor rocking chairs. The new building also pays homage to the city’s past by incorporating original oak floors and windows from the old Casino Community Building. Its two community rooms, the Palm Villa and the Hillcrest, are named after historic homes dating to the 1800s. Another historical treat is the large windmill outside the library; an original to the city, the windmill operated from 1915 to the 1950s, according to the release.
The library’s outdoor garden is named after the late Virgil Bell, father of Fruitland Park City Commissioner Christopher Bell and grandfather-in-law of Lake County Commissioner Josh Blake. His original artwork of local historic homes will be displayed in the front foyer, celebrating his legacy.
The Fruitland Park Library began in 1916 and was incorporated in 1966. It became part of the Lake County Library System in 1997. Construction of the new Fruitland Park Library began in March 2018.