Florida Library Celebrates Anniversary with Events

News & Updates

  The Florida Public Library (FPL), founded in 1958, will celebration of its 62nd Anniversary and the completion of 20 years in its “new building” with a variety of events for all ages on from Fri., Sept. 25 through Sun., Sept. 27. 

The weekend will kick off on Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m. with an outdoor movie showing of Sonic the Hedgehog on FPL’s new 18’ screen in the parking lot adjacent to the Library, which is located at 4 Cohen Circle in Florida. Children must be accompanied by an adult and masks and social distancing are required. Snacks will be provided; bring beverages and chairs. The rain date will be Sat., Sept. 26. Registration is required. To register visit the Library’s website at www.floridapubliclibrary.org or call the library at 651-7659.

Yard Sale 

  The Library’s annual “Anything but Books Yard Sale” will take place on Sat., Sept. 26, (rain date: Sat., Oct. 3) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside on the rear deck. Household items, small furniture without upholstery and small electronics and appliances in good working order will be accepted. No clothing or stuffed animals. To schedule a donation in advance, call Annette at 651-7659 or send an email to fpl@rcls.org

Dedication of Two New Little Free Libraries

  Also, on Sept. 26, FPL will honor benefactors of the library with the dedication of two new Little Free Libraries. At 11 a.m., Library lovers are invited to gather at the corner of North Main St. and Willet St. for the opening of a Little Free Library in honor of Pitso Mafata and in memory of his wife, Lornar. 

Mafata is a native of South Africa and came to the U.S. in 1964 as a member of an acting troupe which presented Alan Paton’s play Sponono on Broadway. When the actors sought asylum rather than return to the dangers of apartheid South Africa, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., intervened on their behalf. Mafata became a U.S citizen and acted on television and at the World’s Fair where he met Lornar, a dancer and native New Yorker. She became the principal of the Mafata Dance Company, a modern dance troupe in New York and Warwick, and died in 2018.

  Mafata’s native language is Xhosa, a Bantu language famed for its click consonants. He was born in Port Elizabeth and learned English in school and by reading the dictionary every weekend night. He earned a scholarship to drama school in Johannesburg and won a featured role in Sponono by a 10-minute recitation of the poetry of T.S. Eliot which demonstrated his command of English. As a youth, he traveled many miles by bus from his village to the city to find books in the public library, but was always told that the books he wanted were checked out. 

When he came to New York, he felt that city libraries were too busy to help an immigrant like himself. After moving to Orange County, he visited several libraries before finding a home at FPL. His memoir is entitled The Grateful Immigrant and can be found in the biography collection. 

  The North Main Street location of the Little Free Library was provided by Phil and David Hamling of Zircar Ceramics, Inc. After the dedication, Library supporters and book lovers are encouraged to walk to the opening of a second Little Free Library at 69 South Main St. in front of the home of FPL Trustee Kevin and Nicolle Lundell. The Little Free Library will be dedicated to the memory of Mary Fish Kimiecik (1932-2009) who lived across the street for decades while raising her children Peter, Joel and Peggy. 

“Miss Mary” was a volunteer in the Library’s preschool program for years and provided a grandmotherly touch for many children and parents, assuring them that they would survive separation and firmly telling them not to cry. She assisted with arts and crafts and washed many sticky little hands with good humor. She loved to read and her excited reviews of the latest book would start many a discussion in the library. Miss Mary enjoyed attending staff meetings to contribute her two cents and was greatly enjoyed by the staff. The rain date for opening both Little Free Libraries will be Sun., Sept. 27.

Family Art Program 

  On Sept. 27 from 1 to 3 p.m., “Miss Beth” Verblaauw will lead a drop-in family art program for all ages on the back deck. Help create some new art to display in the Children’s Room using a variety of different tools and mediums.  Masks are required. 

Photo provided

Library Assistant Ashley Baroch stocks the Florida Public Library’s new Little Free Libraries in preparation for their upcoming dedications.

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