The Paula A. Lewis Branch Library opened to fanfare last with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Things have been rocking ever since.
Up next, the Friends of the St. Lucie County Library is bringing in bestselling author Brad Melzer for the Grand Opening Celebration & Fundraiser next Saturday, Nov. 11.
“The opening, we had quite a good crowd,” Susan Jacob, director of the library system, said.
Jacob estimated that perhaps 250 or more attended the ribbon-cutting. In the week following, the new library was open for short days – about six hours each. She said hundreds visited each day despite the short hours. Jacob said Maureen Gallagher, the branch manager, reported heavy use of the young-adult area and the library’s 3D printer, among other features.
“‘Folks were coming in to get library cards,’” Jacob quoted Gallagher’s message.
The library director estimates that about 10,000 will likely get cards this year because of the new location.
By publication time, the library will be operating at its regular hours. The library is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It opens at 9 a.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, too. But, on Wednesdays, it closes at 5:30 p.m.; on Fridays and Saturdays, at 5 p.m.
The library is at 2950 SW Rosser Blvd.
The library will be closed on Saturday, Nov. 11, in honor of Veterans Day. But at 5:30 p.m., the Grand Opening Celebration & Fundraiser will kick off. The festivities will continue to 9 p.m.
The evening will open with hors d’oeuvres and beverages by Catering Revolution. Then, at 7 p.m., Melzer will talk. Among his many credits, Melzer wrote the “The President’s Shadow,” “The Fifth Assassin,” “The Inner Circle” and other intrigue novels. He co-wrote “The House of Secrets.” Additionally, Melzer has co-written children’s biographies about such famous people as George Washington, Gandhi, Helen Keller, and many more.
“He’s had multiple bestselling thrillers,” Jacob said.
If that doesn’t sound busy enough, Melzer hosts the H2 network’s “Brad Melzer’s Lost History,” which seeks and claims credit for locating lost famous items such as the flag seen in a photo with three New York firefighters on Sept. 11, 2001. Melzer previously hosted another History Channel show, and he created another series that briefly ran on the WB network.
The fundraiser is $45 a person. Jacob said the library-support organization has invested a lot into the Lewis library.
“They have already given us $300,000, which was dedicated to helping us start the print collection at the Lewis library,” she said.
It’s been two decades since the county last opened a new branch library. The county bought the 21,400-square-foot building – a former Port St. Lucie police station – for $2.3 million in 2013. Work to convert it to a library started in the summer of 2016. The library was built with a combination of a $500,000 state grant and the library portion of impact fees. The purchase, construction and equipping all told was about $5 million.
“It’s exceeded my expectations,” Jacob said. “It’s really a beautiful building. It’s modern; it’s attractive. There’s room for all ages. It’s an exciting place.”
And the new library has something no other does in St. Lucie.
“We have a 200-person community room and we’re hoping to bring lectures, music and cultural activity to that end of the county.”
Tickets to the Grand Opening Celebration & Fundraiser are at all branch libraries while supplies last. There are 150 in all.