On Wednesday, May 25, community leaders and staff with the Hendry County Library Cooperative met in Montura to celebrate the opening of a new mini branch at the Montura Clubhouse that will serve the residents of the rural area.
The opening was made possible thanks to a grant from the H.E. Hill Foundation, which helped to pay for the purchase of computers and other items available at the mini branch.
While the opening is a terrific first step in serving more of the residents of Hendry County, Library Director Ava Barrett concedes that much more still has to be done to provide a better library experience for Montura residents.
According to Ms. Barrett, the Central County Water District that helps to govern the area of Montura has been receptive to the idea of the mini library, and offered their blessing for the opening of the branch. The mini branch is located in a part of the Montura Clubhouse, and the opening was timed to coincide with the community’s popular summer program there.
The mini branch will be open two days a week throughout the summer, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and will remain open after, with reduced hours of 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. A member of the Clewiston Library staff is assigned to the branch.
“We are hoping to expand on the hours, but to be able to do that we need funding for a part-time position,” explained Ms. Barrett. “That’s what we’re hoping, to begin the conversation at the right places, to look at how we can get a part-time position in there.”
Since the May 25 opening the library has gotten use by residents. Though it is a smaller location, the mini branch counts with all of the essential services provided through the library system, with users able to sign up for library cards at the location, as well as to retrieve books ordered through the library system’s vast catalog. According to Ms. Barrett, new library users are also able to order books from other libraries right from their homes and pick them up at the location, thanks to new pin-enabled library cards.
The idea for the location was identified through a strategic plan for the county library system that encourages the location of new sites at under-served areas such Montura, Ladeca and Pioneer Plantation, among other areas.
“The idea has been around for a long time,” said the library director.
A group of Montura residents, Concerned Citizens of Montura, also approached Ms. Barrett with the idea. With the support of the Hill Foundation, the opening was possible. According to Ms. Barrett, a school out of Miami has also taken the mini branch as its personal project and donated a collection of books, videos and other items to the new site.
Ms. Barrett encourages residents with an interest in helping expand the mini branch hours or collection to contact her at 863-983-1493.