Director’s Column

“PHiL’s Place”

DIRECTOR’S COLUMN

June 2021

 “ABC Reading Club”

This pandemic has changed just about everything. There are though some practices that will never change and reading is near the top of the list. Now when you combine that with art, I think you have a winner.

In the past, I have written about some wonderful partnerships the library has been fortunate to be involved in however one of the most rewarding has been with the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art. Over the years we have engaged in joint activities such as art lectures at the library with the “Appetite for Art” program, children art storytimes at Leepa-Rattner, professional museum assistance in selecting art for the library’s John Brock Art Alcove, and perhaps my favorite, an art book club at the museum.

Technically it’s called the ABC Reading Club (Arts, Books, and Community) and we have been meeting now for over 11 years. The art titles vary from biographies to particular works of art to history to general art movements. We meet every other month on a Monday (the museum is located at St. Pete College/ Tarpon Springs campus) at 11:30 am. Here’s what we’ll be reading and discussing in 2021-22:

July 26 – The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland (a fictional account of Emily Carr)
Vreeland traces the courageous life and career of Emily Carr, who blazed a path for modern women artists. Overcoming the confines of Victorian culture, Carr became a major force in modern art by capturing an untamed British Columbia and its indigenous peoples just before industrialization changed them forever. Vreeland tells a story that will appeal to lovers of art, native cultures, and lush historical fiction.

September 27 – Leonardo and the Last Supper by Ross King
In 1495, Leonardo da Vinci began what would become one of history’s most influential works of art-The Last Supper. After a decade at the court of Lodovico Sforza, the duke of Milan, Leonardo was at a low point: at forty-three, he had failed, despite a number of prestigious commissions, to complete anything that truly fulfilled his astonishing promise. The commission to paint The Last Supper was a small compensation, and his odds of completing it weren’t promising: he hadn’t worked on such a large painting and had no experience in the standard mural medium of fresco.

November 29 – Master Pieces: The Curator’s Game by Thomas Hoving
As Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a decade, Thomas Hoving brought art to a new level of public awareness by pioneering such blockbuster shows as the King Tut exhibit. Early in his career, Hoving was introduced to the “curator’s game.” Each week, he and his contemporaries met to examine details of larger museum masterpieces. Whoever correctly identified the detail in context won free coffee: the losers paid. In an imaginative adaptation of this exercise, Hoving introduces us to the challenge and the fun of identifying art, and to the rewards of familiarity with the great works. A section of paintings accompanied by brief essays introduces a range of artists, themes, techniques, and styles, while progressively demanding “clues” are provided to help identify visual details in context. Readers at all levels will discover the fun of identifying and remembering great art.

January 31, 2022 – Sargent’s Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas by Donna M. Lucey
In this multilayered biography, Lucey illuminates four extraordinary women painted by the iconic high-society portraitist John Singer Sargent. Elsie Palmer traveled between her father’s Rocky Mountain castle and the medieval English manor house where her mother took refuge, surrounded by artists, writers, and actors. As the veiled Sally Fairchild emerged on Sargent’s canvas, the power of his artistry lured her sister, Lucia, into a Bohemian life. The saintly Elizabeth Chanler embarked on a surreptitious love affair with her best friend’s husband. And the iron-willed Isabella Stewart Gardner scandalized Boston society and became Sargent’s greatest patron and friend.

March 28 – The Collector of Lives: Giorgio Vasari and the Invention of Art by Ingrid Rowland and Noah Charney
Giorgio Vasari (1511–1574) was a man of many talents―a sculptor, painter, architect, writer, and scholar―but he is best known for Lives of the Artists, the classic account that singlehandedly invented the genre of artistic biography and established the canon of Italian Renaissance art. It was through Vasari’s visionary writings that artists like Raphael, Leonardo, and Michelangelo came to be regarded as great masters of life as well as art. An advisor to kings and pontiffs―and a confidant to Titian, Donatello, and more―Vasari enjoyed an exhilarating career amid the thrilling culture of Renaissance Italy.

So if you too like a sparkling conversation, want to be part of a local art scene and you like books…you can be part of something really enjoyable. We’ll save you a chair.

Gene

Gene P. Coppola, Library Director Palm Harbor Library

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May 2021

“Summer of ’21!”

There have been a lot of great summers over the years. In my time there was the summer of ’69, (Jimi, Janis, & Sly…if you have to ask who they are you’re either too young to know or too old to care and it’s all about Woodstock anyway, baby!) and of course you got the “Summer of ’42” (Ah, one my favorites, especially when I was 16). But I’ve got to say the summer of ’21 may actually be one of the best…for your Palm Harbor Library. A lot of great improvements are coming your way and much of it has been made possible through the wonderful generosity of fellow community members. Let’s see what’s coming up…

A new aluminum canopy will be erected along the entire pathway on the west side of the building leading from the sidewalk by the parking lot up to the front entrance. We will also be installing an overhang on the east side of the building covering both the new drive-thru and book drops. Both will certainly protect against rain and sun, and it was all made possible by a former library book club member Ms. Susan Makara who left the library in her will. This new feature will be called the “Susan Makara Walkway.”  It is projected to be completed mid-summer.

Unless you are hanging out at the Fountain of Youth, everything gets old and that includes our phone system. It’s the same one we have been using for about 10+ years so it’s time. Come mid to late May, your library will have a new system that will provide overall better service, and this was made possible primarily through a very kind donation from the Kenyon family who has supported this library for a number of years. You may not see it written anywhere but rest assured our new means of voice communication will be called the “Kenyon Telephone System”!

Subject to the County government approving the library’s application for a special MSTU funding request, the second carpet replacement phase located in the Reference and Information Department should be done by mid to late summer. Perhaps the most interesting part of this whole project will be watching the machine that picks up an entire book range so it can be moved from the carpeted area that will be replaced. That is a photo op in the making!

New signage! Yup, those old rectangular forest green signs are moving on out and in its place we got/are getting large colorful, circular ones that say:
-“Children’s Desk” (in purple)
-“INFO” (in orange)
-“Dave Dockery Computer Area” (mediterranean blue)
-“Teens/Gaming” (hot pink)
I don’t think you are going to miss those.

Past summers have taught us about the bright promises of summers to come such as hanging out at Max Yasgar’s farm or dreaming of Jennifer O’Neill. The promises for the summer of ’21 at Palm Harbor Library may not be as notable but may stick around as long.   

Gene

Gene P. Coppola, Library Director Palm Harbor Library

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April 2021

“Aging Gracefully”

No, I’m not talking about myself. Hardly. If anything, I’m on a downward spiral. But I digress…

There’s a lot of beauty around us and if you just open your eyes you’ll see some of it – notably on April 1st when your Palm Harbor Library celebrates 43 years of service!  (33 years in the current building.) Yes, we were founded on April Fools’ Day. I wasn’t here when that happened, I can’t tell you why, it just did. Another way to look at it, though, is that the library is an Aries. Aries loves to be number one. They are bold and ambitious and dive headfirst into even the most challenging situations. Yup, I think that’s us.

Now of the 43 years, I have been around (good or bad) 21 of them so yeah, I’ve seen a thing or two. What I have seen developed though over the years has been a lot of beauty outside as well as within. I got here at a time when a lot of progress was already made (thank you Jeannette Malouf and others!), but more still needed to be done. So let’s go back to 2000 and try for a moment to imagine what it was all like:

-the building was painted a battleship gray
-there was a large retention pond on the north end of the parking lot
-a rather large mound of dirt occupied most of the west side of the building
-no circular driveway on the east side of the building
-no road sign
-no bookstore (Actually there was one but it was located down one of the book aisles. People often got confused about what you could borrow and what you could buy!)
-no study rooms, no conference room, no teen room but loads and loads of books all over the place

We have come a long way since the turn of the century (boy, does that sound old!), but thankfully some things just never change such as our wonderful volunteers. We really couldn’t have done what we did without them. They are the library… but that’s also true for the staff. So many faces have come and gone, good people, each making this library a bit better than what it was.

Today, you can visit your Palm Harbor Library and find:

-A lending library machine just outside the front entrance
-MACs and bunches of PCs
-a Children’s MakerSpace
-Gaming Center
-drive-thru window service
-digital road sign
-reading & butterfly gardens
-an interactive mural
-musical instruments
-And remember that retention pond? Its area eventually helped to provide a current 140 parking spaces!

There have been so many highlights over the years such as the massive remodeling project back in ’08, being named Best of Bay 2018-2019, our 40th anniversary Open House (the “wine toss” was certainly a favorite), the Grand Opening of the Yoffredo Activity Center, the launching of the Madeline Oliveri Writing program and honestly so much more my aging brain can’t seem to remember.

One story I do remember says much about where we are today. It must have been the first year I was here and came across some kids who were throwing balls against the backside of the building. I told them to stop and they ran away. As I approached the wall to check for any damage I saw something protruding from it. It was a ball. It was a ball stuck in the wall. Balls don’t stick to walls. They’re supposed to bounce off them. I come to find the building was made primarily of foam over a metal skeleton. I’m thinking, this not good. How long can a building made of foam stand, especially during hurricane season?  Apparently a long time. Like 33 years. 43, when you count it all up.

Gene

Gene P. Coppola, Library Director Palm Harbor Library

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March 2021

IT’S NATIONAL SOMETHING DAY/WEEK/MONTH!

 So, I’m with the library’s Marketing Coordinator, Tamara, and we’re kicking around what I should write about for my next “Director’s Column.” Our conversation went something like this:

Tamara- “Gene, the March newsletter is coming due. What are you going to write about?”
Gene- “It’s that time again?”
T- “Yes it is.”
Gene- “I don’t know. What do you think?”
T- “I don’t know, how about spring?”
G- “Spring!?”
T- “OK, not spring. What do you celebrate in March?”
G- “Well, there’s always Women’s History Month or I could do a bit on St. Patrick’s Day or maybe something on green, ya know, for St. Patrick’s Day.”
T- “Ah, what?”
G- “OK, forget that. I’ll figure something out.”

And it dawned upon me that although there are many wonderful and worthwhile day/week/month celebrations and awareness’s throughout March, there are also the humble, the unknown, the near discarded, and yes even the mundane of items that deserve our attention. So without further ado, here are some upcoming events that may strike that special chord within you:

NATIONAL PROCRASTINATION WEEK
Now, I really like this one. This is held the first two weeks in March, or when it’s convenient. It also sometimes gets pushed back on the calendar. The goal is to celebrate the act of procrastinating by leaving necessary tasks to be done at a later time. There are other purposes for the holiday. One claim is that the week of putting-off provides a mental and emotional break causing a decrease in stress and anxiety. This is a celebration I can live with.

NATIONAL CHEESE DOODLE DAY
If you like orange, you’re just going to love this special day on March 5th. Found all across the country, these cheddar cheese coated snacks come in puffed or crunchy, fried or baked. They also come in single-serving or jumbo-sized packaging. The actual inventor of Cheese Doodles is under debate. Generally, the credit goes to a man named Morrie Yohai who made a variety of extruded snack foods in the 1940s for his family’s company called Old London Foods. I am sure if Morrie was here today he would say, “Snack on!”

NATIONAL CEREAL DAY
March 7th celebrates National Cereal Day. The first ready-to-eat breakfast cereal was invented in the U.S. by James Caleb Jackson in 1863, and it was called Granula. Not surprisingly it really wasn’t that popular when you consider that the heavy bran and nuggets needed soaking overnight before they turned tender enough to eat. It wasn’t until John Harvey Kellogg experimented with granola and wheat and discovered a light and flaky product. He patented his invention in 1891 and launched “Cornflakes” in 1895! Personally, I’ll stick with my Peanut Butter Captain Crunch. The best!

NATIONAL GET OVER IT DAY
Every once in a while, don’t you just want to say this to someone? Now you have an excuse on March 9th! “It” may be a variety of things. Sometimes we need to get over the small things like spilled milk or traffic. Even news such as being passed over for a promotion or poor grades shouldn’t cause us to live our lives in a state of misery forever. So you know what? Get over it!

NATIONAL OPEN AN UMBRELLA INDOORS DAY
If you have a fear of superstition, this is right up your alley. Be careful on March 13th when National Open an Umbrella Indoors Day is celebrated. The day encourages you to test the superstition and note if any misfortune comes your way. Good luck!

EVERYTHING YOU THINK IS WRONG DAY
Then perhaps my favorite, March 15th which recognizes Everything You Think Is Wrong Day, a day where decision-making should be avoided, as your thoughts are (according to the founder of this holiday) wrong.  It is also a day created for some people to realize that they are not always right. While starting a conversation, one might even want to avoid using the words “I think.” This may just be a good day to take off from work…or not.

G- “So what do you think about my column?”
T- “You are kidding, right?”
G- “What? You don’t think people will read this?”
T- “C’mon Gene, really?”
G- “It’s got everything, food, laziness, attacking umbrellas…”
T- “What’s the matter with you?”
G- “I should have known. It’s March 15th.

Gene

Gene P. Coppola, Library Director Palm Harbor Library

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February 2021

“So who was Madeline Oliveri?”

When I first arrived in June 2000 to be the next Library Director at Palm Harbor Library, I met a lot of people on the first day at work. There were staff, Advisory Council members, Friends Board members, Literacy volunteers, community members, Board members from the Palm Harbor Community Services Agency, and yes, lots and lots of library volunteers. Like today, there were over 100! And yet I distinctly remember one tall, elegant-looking lady (whose erect posture I could never match!), dressed so well and hair coiffed so stylishly that she stood out from all the others. But when I got to know who this person was, it wasn’t the clothes, the hair, or that damn erect posture that made her special, it was what she did and how she did it.

So I am sure you figured out by now who I’m writing about simply by looking at the column’s title but why? Well, as you may have heard or read somewhere, the library is about to launch a brand new service called the “Madeline Oliveri Writing Program” and my Marketing staff member told me I should write something about Madeline. So here I am reminiscing about this wonderful lady and how she inspired so many around her, especially my staff members.

Madeline was a true renaissance person. She was a registered representative of the New York Stock Exchange, a television commentator, an interviewer for Suffolk Cablevision, Central Islip, New York, and then, of course, a newspaper editor of the  Review Newspapers, Ronkonkoma, New York as well as Managing Editor for the Review Graphics, New York. And then we got lucky when she retired down here in beautiful Palm Harbor.

As you may suspect, writing and libraries go so well together. With a retired newspaper person in the community and a public library beckoning for help, no surprise it was a match made in heaven. Throughout her second “career,” Madeline filled various volunteer roles at Palm Harbor Library. She worked at the front desk, the Technical Services area, served on the Friends Board, the Advisory Council, and on the Palm Harbor Community Services Agency Board. Each responsibility was handled with smartness, tact, and class.

So who was Madeline Oliveri? To me, she was a lovely individual who added more wherever she went. She was an inspiration to some and a supporter to many and her legacy will continue through this new writing program. She was a person I’m glad I knew and who simply stood out from the crowd.

Gene

Gene P. Coppola, Library Director Palm Harbor Library

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January 2021

Bibliophiles, unite!

It’s amazing sometimes how things just creep up on you like birthdays and holidays, and PHiL’s (Palm Harbor Library) Book Club is no exception. Unbelievable as it may seem, we’ll soon be heading into our 21st year of reading and meeting. Considering this momentous occasion, I thought I’d take a few moments of your time to tell you what’s coming up.

PHiL’s BOOK CLUB – READING LIST

January 11 – My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
Is Rachel a conniving murderess or is she a loving cousin? Is she a good-hearted woman or a cunning vixen? That’s what Phillip has to figure out…or can he?

February 8 – You Never Forget Your First by Alexis Cole
Alexis Coe takes a closer look at our first President and finds he is not quite the man we remember. She examines Washington’s myths with mirth and writes history with humor.

March 8 – The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
A cold Christmas Eve night horror tale by one of the giants of American literature. A classic.

April 12 – The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson
Churchill’s first year in office beginning with the evacuation of Dunkirk and how he taught the British people the “the art of being fearless.”

May 10 Henry Himself by Stewart O’Nan
An unsentimental, moving life story of an aging twentieth-century everyman, showing resilience with humor, intelligence, and compassion.

June 14 – Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon
A spellbinding and moving story of enduring love, remarkable sacrifice, and unfaltering resolve that chronicles the true exploits of a woman during WWII.

July 12 – Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country.

August 9 – The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini by Joe Posnanski
The one and only…

September 13 – The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Man Booker Prize

October 11 – The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
This is a captivating portrait of greed and guilt, love and delusion, ghosts and unintended consequences, and the infinite ways we search for meaning in our lives.

November 8 – Empire of the Summer Moon by S. C. Gwynne
The epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood son, Quanah, who became the last and greatest chief of the Comanches.

December 13 – The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo
It is a world of servants and masters, age-old superstition and modern idealism, sibling rivalry, and forbidden love. It is also a coming-of-age of a child and a young woman, each searching for their place in a society that would rather they stay invisible.

All book club dates meet at 11 AM on the second Monday of the month. We normally get together at the library but for the first few months, we’ll continue to meet virtually.

In today’s society, you’ve got a lot of choices on how to spend your leisure time. Sure, one of the easiest things to do is pull out the remote and click but if you want to be with friends, meet new friends, laugh, discuss, learn and eat (yes, I do serve you food complimenting what we’re reading), this may be the place for you. And here’s the best part. It’s free!

Gene

Gene P. Coppola, Library Director Palm Harbor Library

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December 2020

“I can’t wait for 2021!”

Well, 2020 has been a tough year. I mean, it even killed James Bond! In January I never thought face masks would become a fashion statement, Alex would be in Jeopardy heaven (my money is on Ken Jennings to replace him), we would have bubble basketball, I’d be Zooming… and you know all the rest.

I’m exhausted!

So perhaps like many of you, I just want to turn that page and get on with ’21. Except for the holidays, there’s not much hope left for ’20.

So what will 2021 bring? (Boy, doesn’t that sound odd? “2021”? It’s like something out of Dune. ) I’m an optimist by nature so I’ve got to believe there are some good things coming up this year. Generally speaking, here is my thumbs up list:

  • Vaccine! For everyone!
  • A full baseball season. Truth be told, I’m a Yankees fan but I have got it to hand it to the Rays, they had a great season and Cash deserves that award. There are bright days ahead for Tampa Bay but a tougher schedule for the Yanks.
  • Going to a restaurant and getting a full menu!
  • Saving $ NOT buying masks! (And for those of you wearing glasses, I am sure you can’t wait for that day to come.)
  • All the toilet paper you want…anytime!
  • And paper towels too!
  • To spend Thanksgiving together, in person, sharing a meal with as many people as you want.

In library land there are also causes for celebration:

  • Having our volunteers back! We miss you!
  • Reopening our evening hours
  • The new drive-thru window will be fully operational
  • On-site and off-site in-person programs and activities will resume
  • No more looking at each other through Plexiglass

It is gonna be a whole new world… just like the old.

Look, not all of this is going to happen right away and some may take longer than others but it will happen. There will be fits and starts and some gloom may remain but the further we get into ’21, the further away ’20 will be. Now if the Yanks can get another front line pitcher and a good left-handed bat, maybe they’ll give the Rays a run for their money. I can only hope.

Gene

Gene P. Coppola, Library Director Palm Harbor Library

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November 2020

“Giving Thanks”

Wow. Some year, huh? I don’t have to fill in all the blanks or provide the adjectives. I know each and every one of you can easily do that on your own. I think Webster’s top 10 would include “surreal,” “bizarre,” “social distancing” (well, that’s a twofer), “mask,” and “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life” (that probably should be put in the phrase category). To round it out, I’ll even throw in a couple of numbers, “6” and “19.” You know where they go. The point being, 2020 has not been the 20/20 we thought it would be. But perhaps in some small subtle way, it was…and still is.

Now, I know Halloween or Christmas is the favorite holiday for many but Thanksgiving for me is what I look forward to all year: dinner, family, friends. It’s a great trifecta. It also gives me pause to be thankful for all I do have in spite of all the nonsense going on around me.  As the lovely Elizabeth Barrett Browning once said, l”et me count the ways I can give thanks:

  • Able to spend more time with family & friends (see above)
  • Able to spend more time with my dog, a Basset Hound called “Rosie” (named after my daughter’s middle name…she wasn’t too happy about that)
  • To work in a comfortable environment where staff are kind and ethical
  • Simply to be working
  • As a sports-minded guy…Go Lightning!… Go Rays!…and with Brady at the helm, Go Bucs!
  • To re-engage with my book club members virtually; how I missed them!
  • Actually seeing more goodness in people, and becoming more accommodating than ever before.
  • Happy to know so many animals are now being adopted from the shelters (Rosie would be happy too!)
  • To be able to write this as a healthy individual.

Going home each day I pass the southwest corner of Nebraska and US19 where Walgreens is located and there is one yard sign there. You may have seen it too. It’s red, white and blue but it’s not for a particular candidate. It simply says, “Vote Kindness.”  It got me thinking there really is more kindness than we realize, more than that the other stuff. It’s just that mostly we hear what’s not right, but if you open your eyes, you’ll see how much is going right, and for that I am grateful.

Now, I’m not trying to get schmaltzy here and I’m not naïve to what has been going on, especially to those who have been severely affected this year; but if we each just STOP for a moment and take it all in, there is indeed much to be thankful for. Granted, sometimes it’s tough to see the good side,  but when Rosie and I take our walks each morning (not sure who is leading who) I know we’re both happy and thankful we’re together.

Gene

Gene P. Coppola, Library Director Palm Harbor Library

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October 2020

Our Questions, Your Answers!

I hate surveys. They’re long, boring and they never seem to ask that one question you really want to answer. And if you do fill one out, you like to hear some response back. Did they like my answers? What are they going to do with the info? Did I really make an impact by sending this thing in? We like to think when we take time to do a survey, something direct will come out of it but it seems more often than not, you never hear anything. Well, that changes here.  

Recently your library posted a survey on our website and sent it to our newsletter subscribers. Yes, I hate to admit it, it was long; but wow, over 200 of you responded! I was hoping maybe for 50 or so (and that would have been a lot!), but I guess you really wanted to tell us what was on your mind. And you did.

Some of the things we asked and how you answered follow below:

How has the library enhanced your well-being?
“When I am able to do my volunteer tasks, it does wonders for my blood pressure.”
“Knowing that I have a place to go and unwind and truly be myself without judgement helps with my mental well-being.”

How could our library or its services be improved?
“Give warning [when] the library card is set to expire. Tried using it on vacation and it had expired that day and I could not access my account.”
“There are many services that the library offers that don’t fit my demographic.”
“It’s me, not you. Library is excellent. I need to make better use of online services.”

During these Covid-19 challenges, how has the library been successful in providing support and encouragement while keeping you feeling safe?
“Curbside pick-up has been awesome.”
“Ability to use library via Kindle, computer”  

Select which of these features you’d like us to implement or improve.
“Communication about library news” 68.3%
“More library service recommendations” 57.4%
“Updates on what’s trending in library services” 30.6%

On average, how often did you visit the library pre-COVID?
Weekly 52.2%
Monthly 32.8%
Less than once a month 9.5%

How important are programs?
Very Important 39.4%
Important 23.2%
Somewhat Important 20.2%

How important are online services and streaming?
Important 27.2%
Very Important 22.6%
Somewhat Important 20.5%

How is our customer service?
Excellent 77.5%
Good 20%
Fair 2.5%

How is our cleanliness?
Excellent 82.3%, Good 17.7%

And we won’t just be looking at the percentages of these anonymous responses and acting accordingly, we also will be using some of the answers in our promotions. As part of the library’s expanded marketing plan, three new outside banners will be displayed on the north side of the building that will rotate occasionally. The first three, expected to be hung in October if not sooner, will be quotes from the survey. Here’s a preview:

“A place to unwind and be myself without judgement” This sounds familiar…
“The library is my happy place”
And my favorite… “A safe place to be nerdy” 

Well, based on what we’ve read so far, we seem to be doing OK but, of course, there’s always room for improvement. I like to think there was one question there that satisfied your curiosity but if not, you can always contact me at gene@phlib.org and ask your question. 

And yes, I did like your answers. And yes, we are going to use the information to make this a better place to visit on-site and online. And yes, you did make an impact.

Thanks,

Gene

Gene P. Coppola, Library Director Palm Harbor Library

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September 2020

A Non-Profit Summit

As some of you may not know, Palm Harbor is an unincorporated community of approximately 59,000+ residents. We are not a city, and so many of our services are provided by the County. Palm Harbor offers a great business community, a strong cultural environment, and numerous unique non-county services.

Over the years the Greater Palm Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce has been a wonderful source for the business community and has been consistently supportive of nonprofits. However, during these turbulent times perhaps more needs to be done with socially-focused institutions. Some are suffering from reduced revenues, staff, and resources; although each is striving to maintain the services that the community has come to expect, it is increasingly difficult to do so. In an attempt to ease this burden, Palm Harbor Library, in partnership with CSA Palm Harbor, will be hosting a summit where all Palm Harbor non-profits can gather to review and discuss how we may be able to help each other.

To give you an example of a mutually beneficial partnership, the library joined up with the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art to promote art and literature.  Leepa-Rattner provided free one-hour art talks at the library and juried art selections for the library’s Art Alcove exhibit space. In turn, the library conducted art-themed storytimes for children and an adult art book club at the museum.

So far nearly 50 organizations have been identified as nonprofits in Palm Harbor! Imagine that. There are so many good public services being offered, and I am sure many Palm Harborites (Is that a word?) are justly benefitting from them. But just think how much more may be accomplished if we all gather together, guided by the simple philosophy of altruism. And don’t you think we need that now more than ever?

We are currently reaching out to the Nonprofits of Palm Harbor in preparation for the Summit in early 2021. If you are interested in participating, please do not hesitate to contact me at 727-784-3332 ext. 3001 or at gene@phlib.org.  I sure would like to talk with you.

These are challenging times and may continue to be for quite a while. However, these could be times of opportunity and innovation. What do they say about lemons and lemonade? Well, I say, let’s mix it up and see what happens.

Gene

Gene P. Coppola, Library Director Palm Harbor Library

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August 2020

“It’s a Whole Different Ballgame…at Least for Now” 

So now it’s August, the library is open but somehow it’s not the same. Yes, you can come in and borrow materials, take a load off and sit down, read a book and cool off… but it’s not the same.

This whole Covid-19 phenomenon has changed just about everything in our lives and libraries of course are no exception. We had to close for a while, then re-open with staff only, no volunteers. We are without our face-to-face activities/meetings/programs, and now we must modify our hours due to a scaled-down staff.  Everything seems so surreal!

But wait! All is not lost. The library is still here! We can still do things for you! We can still do a lot of things for you. Here is just a small sampling of those services:

– The Library Media Box just outside the front entrance when the library is closed (all you need is a library card)
– The Library Media Box located at CSA Palm Harbor, open 24 hours a day (ditto on the card)
– Outside Wi-Fi access around the library when the library is closed (signs are posted where Wi-Fi is available)
– Two FREE charging stations for your e-car
– As mentioned, PCs and…MACs!
– A seed library (Yes, we can help you grow your own garden!)
– Musical instruments to borrow
– STEAM kits for kids
– Records! (We also provide a turntable)
– Our bookstore is open. Great bargains!
– Curbside pick-up
– Standard services (Reference, Notary, Faxing and Exam Proctoring Services)
– And let’s talk a minute about our online services at www.palmharborlibrary.org:
 Overdrive (Downloadable Ebookhttps://www.palmharborlibrary.org/s, Audiobooks & Streaming Video)
Hoopla (Downloadable Movies, Music & AudioBooks)
Kanopy (Stream classic cinema, indie films, top documentaries, quality children’s tv, and movies and the Great Courses)
Tutor.com (offers a range of services for all ages from live help from tutors available from 3 pm – 10 pm to practice tests for the SAT  and ACT. You are also able to submit papers, math questions, and resumes for tutors to review 24/7)

I am sure I’m missing some others but that should give you an idea that we are still in business.

Yes, this wacky world may still get a bit wackier as we go along but know that through it all, we’ll continue to be here to serve you one way or another.  It is a different ballgame for now but when it gets back to the way it was, we will too.

Gene

Gene P. Coppola, Library Director Palm Harbor Library

 

Author: JoAnn Jacobson

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