On Sat., Oct. 24, the Florida Public Library (FPL) honored benefactors of the Library with the dedication of two new Little Free Libraries. Everyone gathered at 51 North Main 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.
After moving to Orange County, he visited several libraries before finding a home at FPL. The North Main St. location of the Little Free Library was provided by the Florida Union Free School District.
After the dedication, library supporters walked 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 was 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 loved to read and her excited reviews of the latest book would start many a discussion in the Library.
FPL’s first Little Free Library is located on the front porch of Roe Brothers, Inc. at 65 Maple Ave. Residents are invited to take a walk through the village and visit one or all the Little Free Libraries to pick up books for all ages. For more information, call the library at 651-7659 or visit floridapubliclibrary.org.
Florida Public Library Director Madelyn Folino (left) is pictured with Pitso Mafata in front of the Little Free Library, located at 51 North Main St. in Florida, NY.
Members of the Kimiecik Family attend the grand opening of the Little Free Library dedicated in memory of Mary Fish Kimiecik.