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January - March 2009     VOLUME 13 ISSUE 1
 
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Marianne Beck Memorial Library

Short history of our newest library

In 1985, one of Howey’s young citizens, in search of a project for the rank of Eagle Scout, had a vision of a library for his town. This young man shared his vision with others who also saw the benefits of such an endeavor. After the Eagle Scout received his badge, the work continued.

When they were looking for a facility to house the library, the town gave them permission to use the one-car garage next to the police station. After cleaning out dust and cobwebs, shelves were built. The first 85 books came from the Eustis Library. A “Book Day” was held, a day in which the townspeople arrived bearing their book donations for the new facility.

One volunteer opened the doors of the library in the morning. The building remained open until another volunteer locked the doors in the early evening. It was an honor system library and remained so for 10 years. In 1995, some changes were required; the honor system wasn’t being honored; 25 books were stolen in a short time period. Volunteers began manning the library three days a week. Also that year the library received funding from the town for the first time.

In 1996, the Town Council purchased an empty convenience store and agreed to pay the utilities for the library. With the help of donations and volunteers, the work began. Repairs to the roof were done. The air conditioning was upgraded. Much debris was hauled away. The building was painted. And the list goes on.

In 2000, the library moved into their new home around the corner from the garage site. For the first time a paid staff person , a part-timer, was hired, but the library still relied heavily on volunteers.

In 2008, the Marianne Beck Memorial Library of Howey-in-the-Hills became a member of the Lake County Library System . For the first time the director of the library works full-time, but the library still relies on the many talents and the many hours donated by its volunteers.