For more than two decades there has been talk of bringing a branch library to Lakewood Ranch.
With Manatee County’s passage of a library impact fee in 2016, a library at Lakewood Ranch is no longer just a pipe dream.
Manatee County Public Library staff are inviting Lakewood Ranch and East Manatee residents to a meeting 6 p.m. Friday to discuss what they would like to see in the proposed new library. The meeting will be held at Lakewood Ranch Town Hall, 8175 Lakewood Ranch Blvd.
Anne Ross, executive director of Town Hall, announced the library meeting Tuesday during the Inter-District Authority and community development district meetings.
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In addition to the traditional library offerings, including books and reference materials, libraries can offer a variety of other services, said Kelly Foster, marketing and public relations coordinator for the library.
Examples include creative aging, art, travel, educational programs and more.
The conversation in Lakewood Ranch on Friday is the beginning of hearing from the community on what types of things they would like to see for a future facility.
Cheri Coryea, director of Neighborhood and Community Services
“We want to hear from residents what they want,” Foster said.
Lakewood Ranch resident Jacqueline Borda, who has called her community an intellectual desert because of its lack of a library, said she plans to attend Friday’s meeting.
“I go to Selby Library in Sarasota. They have lots of things going on there,” Borda said, adding that she hopes the Lakewood Ranch library branch would be built large enough to handle the community’s rapid growth.
Cheri Coryea, director of Neighborhood and Community Services, said through an email that the concept for the Lakewood Ranch Library envisions it being developed between 2019 and 2026. No location has been selected or approved.
Also being planned by the county is expansion of the Braden River Branch Library, 4915 53rd Ave. E., and of Rocky Bluff Library, 6750 US Highway 301 N., Ellenton.
The Lakewood Ranch library is proposed after the expansion of the Braden River Library has been determined and agreed upon, Coryea said.
“We are currently meeting to review that facility’s needs for current patrons,” Coryea said. “The conversation in Lakewood Ranch on Friday is the beginning of hearing from the community on what types of things they would like to see for a future facility.”
The primary locations for increased use of the Manatee County library system are the Braden River Branch and Rocky Bluff, a reflection of the growing communities in the eastern portions of the county, north and south of the river, said Kevin Beach, operations manager for the library service.
In other business at Tuesday’s Lakewood Ranch Inter-District Authority meeting:
- Anne Ross announced there will be a presentation for residents on alligators at Lakewood Ranch by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 6 p.m. Feb. 27. The presentation is in response to resident concerns and questions about alligators. The prevailing resident view: “Hey, they were here first,” Ross said.
- Gary Glass, director of Community Association Services, announced that Town Hall would be closed Feb. 20 for Presidents’ Day.